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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Rainer Schulzer

Japanese Studies, Philosophy
(PhD Students, April 1, 2010 - November 30, 2010)
  • Inoue Enryō
  • Early Reception of Western Philosophy at Tokyo University
  • Buddhist Thought of Meiji period
  • Buddhist Philosophy

Dissertation Project:

Inoue Enryō – Buddhist, Philosopher of Enlightenment and Educator

(provisional Title)

This dissertation project will be the first Ph.D. thesis in English, which has Inoue Enryō 井上円了 (1858-1919) as its single focus. The selected works of Inoue Enryō have been published in 25 volumes and are only marginally recognized by western research. The thesis aims, therefore, at a balanced account of Inoue Enryō that introduces the western reader to the breadth of his work, and which will facilitate further research.

The first part of the thesis investigates the influences on the young Buddhist priest Inoue Enryō during his studies at Tokyo University. It will make the reasons clear why he turned away from his Buddhist order after finishing his degree in philosophy and then committed himself to the modernization of Buddhism using philosophical criteria.  

The second part will be an informative account of Inoue Enryōs most important fields of activity. First, founding the “Hall of Philosophy” 哲学館 (Tetsugakkan) in 1887 (todays Toyo University東洋大学); second, his “Studies of the Mysterious” 妖怪学 (Yōkai gaku) and his denouncement of superstition in his lecture tours throughout Japan; third, building of the “Temple Garden of Philosophy” 哲学堂公園 (Tetsugaku dō kōen).

The last part of the thesis will concentrate on Inoue Enryō’s Buddhist philosophy during the final period of his life. The focus will be the completion of his tripartite opus magnum on the reformation of Buddhism with “The living Buddhism” 活仏教 (Katsu bukkyō) of 1912.