Statement from the Philosophical Association of Japan of a new international journal, Tetsugaku: International Journal of the Philosophical Association of Japan
5th December, 2015
President of the Philosophical Association of Japan
Professor of Philosophy at Hitotsubashi University/Tokyo
We are experiencing today the worldwide phenomena of crises in both the humanities and the social sciences, crises to which Japan is also subject. In the face of this situation, we have decided to launch an international journal issued annually on its own website in the hope of meeting these crises through a new solidarity with philosophers and philosophical associations overseas as well as sharing our studies in philosophy worldwide.
Let me first briefly summarize the history of the Philosophical Association of Japan. In 1874 NISHI Amane (1829-1897), who had studied social sciences and philosophy from 1863 to 1865 at the University of Leiden/the Netherlands, first translated the word “philosophy” with the Japanese term “tetsugaku.” This term, written in Chinese characters, was widely adopted in East Asia. This new term penetrated naturally into Japanese society and gradually became to play an important role in the development of humanities during half a century. In 1949, the Philosophical Association of Japan was founded by Japanese philosophers, and AMANO Teiyū (1884-1980) was elected its first president. Beginning in 1952, especially through the efforts of the presidents AMANO, IDE Takashi (1892-1980), SHIMOMURA Toratarō (1902-1995), MUTAI Risaku (1880-1974), WATSUJI Tetsurō (1889-1960), the journal PHILOSOPHY (Tetsugaku): Annual Review of the Philosophical Association of Japan (mainly in Japanese) was published with the primary purpose of offering occasions for the exchange of opinions and information about research in philosophy inside and outside of Japan. Since then, the journal has been published annually, with its most recent, Volume 66, being published in April of 2015. The members of our Association number about 1500 at present, and we focus mainly on western philosophy from ancient to contemporary, from theoretical to practical, from the philosophy of science to applied philosophy as well as Japanese modern philosophy.
As to our current situation, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) abruptly announced in June 2015 a drastically revised plan (including a plan of discontinuance) for the departments of Humanities and Social Sciences in our national universities. This is the visible indication of the real crisis of Humanities and Social Sciences, and therefore of the crisis of philosophy, philosophical investigations, and studies in philosophy in Japan.
Encountering this crisis, the Philosophical Association of Japan has resolved to explore opportunities to reach out to philosophers overseas in order to have exchanges through papers (in English, German and French) in our new international Journal. This new international journal, Tetsugaku: International Journal of the Philosophical Association of Japan, will be launched in April 2017, by setting up a website on the internet.
Until now international activities of our association have been quite limited, with the exception of the “Japan-China Philosophy Forum” and the “World Congress of Philosophy”. We hope that through our new international journal we can build new academic solidarity with philosophers and philosophical associations overseas and thereby become more open to them.
Our International Journal will include “Articles” (contributed papers by the members of the Philosophical Association of Japan), Featured Articles related to chosen themes (“Special themes”), and “Research Reports” about studies in philosophy related to Japan. For the Featured Articles, we invite researchers overseas to submit papers on each particular theme on to this journal (please look at the “Call for papers”). We sincerely hope that this online publication of Tetsugaku: International Journal of the Philosophical Association of Japan will contribute greatly to promote worldwide philosophical arguments.