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Philosophers In Japan In The Period Of World War II—Reflecting The Philosophy Of Nishida Against The Background Of Social Phenomena

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Chapter Summary

A common model of misinterpretation emerges, which mixes together the following factors: (i) A misunderstanding of Zen Buddhism as a kind of esoteric mysticism, serving as a mass-psychological control instrument, (ii) A misconception of trying to trace influences of both Zen Buddhism and the philosophy of the Kyoto School in Japanese state policy during the years 1937-1945. (iii) The development of militarism and totalitarianism at the same time in Japan. The question of whether philosophers of the Kyoto School were ideological supporters of World War II has been repeatedly discussed from various angles throughout the post-War period. Since the political reformation in 1868 (the Meiji Restoration), Japan's form of government has been a monarchic one. Unlike some philosophers of the younger and middle generation, Nishida refrained from publicly voicing political statements and from participating in political symposia.

Keywords: Kyoto School; militarism; Nishida; totalitarianism; Zen Buddhism



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