[Report] UT-UH Summer Institute for Comparative Philosophy (7)

29 September, 2013 KAJITANI Shinji, NAKAJIMA Takahiro, RUI Xue, L1 Dialogical Practice between Eastern and Western Philosophy

The third week of the seminar was a one-week trip from Kanazawa to Tottori. On August 18th, we visited D.T. Suzuki Museum near Kanazawa city, and moved to Nishida Kitaro Museum in Ishikawa prefecture, where these two outstanding figures in modern Japanese philosophy were born. Ms. Rui's report is mostly about the lectures and experiences we had at the two Museums.

After a long trip from Tokyo to Kanazawa, we began our philosophical adventure in Kanazawa today, covering our visits to D.T. Suzuki Museum and Ishikawa NISHIDA KITARO Museum of Philosophy.


A lovely summer day saw our pilgrimage to the museums of two great Japanese philosophers. Designed by two well-known architects, both two places share a similarity of a combination of Zen philosophy and modern architecture, delicately incorporating the exhibition of philosophers' life stories, introductions to their main philosophical ideas and aesthetics presented by the building and space.


In the D.T. Suzuki Museum, we were first amazed by the calligraphies of him which illustrates great but nameless wisdom of Zen. According to the guide, different from display in other museums, there's no explanation label for every piece of his work as to avoid conveying pre-conditioned impression. People are supposed to think and form their own understanding of the work. Besides, the exhibition room is also a piece of art combining traditional Japanese materials and modernity by using hand-made wall paper, special Japanese wood as interior decoration and concrete and steel as framework, so to speak. Outside of the exhibition room there's a pond surrounded by lush trees known as water mirror garden and contemplative space where most of us had a rest and did a bit of meditation as well.

(Photo below: Nishida's study)


Our fascinating experience continued in Nishida's Museum. As the guide told us it's the first museum of philosophy in Japan, probably also in the world. Exploring the 5-floor building is a philosophy journey accompanied by Nishida’s genius at the same time. We were exposed to Nishida's world through miscellaneous and carefully portrayed materials. Apart from the main building, we got a chance to appreciate Nishida's study which is a small house adjacent. After several hours of legwork and feasts for eyes, we got to sit down and had a discussion about Nishida's ideas on society, lead by a talk given by Kawamura Satofumi. Although thanks to Prof. Ishida's lectures, we have had some basic knowledge of Nishida's philosophy especially notions such as pure experience and time, Kawamura's talk focusing on society brought about our further understanding of Nishida. As a close, Prof. Ishida helped us sort out the timeline of Nishida's life as to give a more explicit idea how Nishida's philosophy came into being and what influenced him most, etc.


It was quite a fruitful trip for minds as well as for eyes. Even for non-philosophers like me, it was an interesting journey and I somehow managed to sense the power of Zen in this city far away from the metropolitan Tokyo.

Xue RUI (Elinor)

  • HOME>
    • Blog>
      • [Report] UT-UH Summer Institute for Comparative Philosophy (7)
//Page Top