Cutting-Edge Research
in Kyoto University


Philosophizing with the Kyoto School Facing the facts about the “theory of the body.”

Kitaro Nishida with staffs and students around 1913
〔K. Nishida, Nishida Kitaro Zensyu, Vol.14, (Tokyo: Iwanami
Syoten, 1951)〕

According to Prof. Mayuko Uehara, editor in chief of the Journal of Japanese Philosophy (SUNY Press), studies of Japanese philosophy have become progressively globalized in recent years. Prof. Uehara has been receiving many reports about international research activities to revitalize Japanese philosophy. Among those research activities, the philosophy of the Kyoto School seems to be the most influential for non-Japanese scholars. Against this background of interest in the Kyoto School, Prof. Uehara’s primary interest is delving into the philosophical problems that the Kyoto School did not thoroughly develop.

One of such problems currently being tackled by Prof. Uehara is that of facial expressions, which have never been an object of philosophy. Nishida Kitarō, founder of the Kyoto school, formed an original “theory of the body.” Prof. Uehara has been taking a great deal of interest in the “face,” which is at the core of human existence—in other words, the most sophisticated expressive agency of human existence. Based on the Nishida’s theory of body, Prof. Uehara aims to examine facial “expressions”—how they appear—to make it clear that this theory does not thoroughly explain the human body or facial expressions, and seek a more complete “theory of body” by considering in detail the complex relationship of individual existence, emotions, and sensibilities.

Mayuko Uehara, PhD
Department of Japanese Philosophy,
Graduate School of Letters