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Japanese Philosophy Network 6th Meeting

東京大学駒場Iキャンパス 101号館2階 24号室(研修室)

This is the 6th meeting of Japanese Philosophy Network.

Speaker: Richard Stone (Waseda University)

Title: Death, Peace of Mind, and Mysteries: Revisiting the Moral Philosophy of Inoue Enryō’s Mystery Studies

Abstract: Among many of Inoue Enryō’s (井上円了, 1858-1919) contemporaries, it was believed that his “Mystery Studies (Yōkaigaku; 妖怪学)” was but a mere hobby. Yet, although it may seem easy to look at Enryō’s systematic study of various ghost stories or superstitions in this way, Enryō himself would almost certainly disagree with this characterization of his work. To the contrary, throughout his career Enryō himself posed his “Mystery Studies” as the key to reforming Japanese education, morality, and religion.
Keeping this in mind, we will attempt to ask: why would this seemingly curious study of ghosts, monsters, and superstitions have such a fundamental moral or value? While answering this question, we will focus on the surprising centrality that the fear of death has in Enryō’s writings about the importance of Mystery Studies. In doing so, we will find both a novel approach to pursuing peace of mind in the midst of fearing the unknown as well as assess the political implications of Enryō’s “cure” for those who fear death.

Keywords: Inoue Enryō, Mystery Studies, Yokai, Death, War

Cheung Ching-yuen (EAA), Kuwayama Yukiko (UTCP), Dennis Stromback(GlobeE)

Organized by:
East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts, the University of Tokyo (EAA) & The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy (UTCP)


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