Political Philosophy in Japan focuses on the politics of Japan's pre-eminent philosophical school - the Kyoto School - and particularly that of its founder, Nishida Kitarô (1870-1945). Existing literature on Nishida is dismissive of there being serious political content in his work, and of the political stance of the wider school. Goto-Jones contends that, far from being apolitical, Nishida's philosophy was explicitly and intentionally political, and that a proper political reading of Nishida sheds new light on the controversies surrounding the alleged complicity of the Kyoto School in Japanese ultra-nationalism. This book offers a unique and potentially controversial view of the subject of Nishida and the Kyoto School.
'Dissatisfied both with the arguments and the material on which the competing posisitons have been based, Christopher Goto-Jones has set out to redefine the question from the ground up. The results are so impressive that it will be hard to think about the debate from now on without taking into account the wider perspective he has opened up for us.' - Japanese Journal of Relgious Studies
'Imagine a surfer trying to ride a tsunami. Then imagine the same daring sportsman trying to negotiate two such mountain waves in succession. In research terms, this is what Christopher Goto-Jones has attempted to do.' - Asian Affairs
' We are immensely indebted to Goto-Jones for bringing us back to the historical aporias Japan faced as it modernized in the interwar period and for guiding us through the intricacies of how philosophy and its most gifted practitioner in Japan sought to make sense of spectacle taking place' - International Journal of Asian Studies
Introduction: Political Philosophy in Japan and the Contradictory Location of Nishida Tetsugaku 1. Theorising Dissent - Intellectuals, Language, and Political Sleight-of-Hand 2. The Politics of Harmony and Awakening - Confucianism and Buddhism as Political Thought in Japan 3. The Early Nishida and the Place of Japanese Political Philosophy 4. (Re)Locating the Later Nishida - Ideology and Philosophy in Wartime Japan 5. Nishida's Shadow - The Kyoto School and the Manipulation of Nothingness Conclusion: The Philosophical Site of Politics in Japan - Shisô Sensô, and the Defeat of Nishida Tetsugaku?