Rude Awakenings: Zen, the Kyoto School, & the Question of Nationalism


To many scholars in the world of religious studies, Zen is a world apart from the world of politics, and the philosophy of the Kyoto school is a politically neutral blend of intellectual traditions East and West, Buddhist and Christian. This volume challenges those assumptions by focusing on the question of nationalism in the work of Japanese Buddhist thinkers during and after the Pacific War. Fifteen Japanese and Western scholars offer a variety of critical perspectives concerning the political responsibility of intellectuals and the concrete historical consequences of working within a religious or philosophical tradition. The first group of essays debates the role of Zen Buddhism in wartime Japan. A second group of essays examines the political thought and activities of Nishida Kitaro, the doyen of the Kyoto school. A third group of essays questions the complicity of other philosophers of the Kyoto school in the wartime spirit of nationalism and analyzes the ideas of modernity and the modern nation-state then current in Japan. This carefully documented volume offers a wealth of information and reflection for those interested in prewar and wartime history, Zen, Japanese philosophy, and the problem of nationalism today.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Christopher Ives
  • Robert H. Sharf
  • Kirita Kiyohide
  • Ueda Shizuteru
  • Yusa Michiko
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Honolulu, HI
Publication year:
  • 1995


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