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Concepts of justice in the history of Japanese philosophy (redirected from Concepts of justice in the history of Japanese political thought)

Page history last edited by John McMahon 4 years, 7 months ago



 • Introduction


 • Chap. 01. Beauty in Japan - the Depth Psychology of Japanese Ideology -


 • Chap. 02. Kukai - The Pioneer of Japanese Buddhism -


 • Chap. 03. Shinran - Dualist Buddhism based on Monistic Ideology -


 • Chap. 04. Michiko Ishimure - Facing the Modernity - 


 • Conclusion    




It is worthy to learn about concepts of justice in the history of Japanese political thought, but some readers might disagree with its importance due to three suspicions.

  • If justice is a universal concept, shouldn’t be justice in the western world and Japan similar?
  • Is there any original philosophy in Japan? Isn’t is just the copy of other countries’ ideology?
  • Is there any benefit to learn Japanese perception of justice for other countries’ people?     


1. Different Meaning of Justice in the Western World and Japan

Generally, justice is the standard which determines things as good or bad. In egalitarian theory, equality is considered as good, and in libertarian theory, following the free market principle is considered as good. The definition of goodness and evilness are dependent on the theory of justice. In contrast to Western ideas about justice that are often dualistic, Japanese philosophy has considered goodness and evilness as different and relative aspects of things. A thing is good from one perspective, but it can be bad from another perspective. The border between good and evil is not clear, and good things and evil things can even be considered as the same thing. That is, Japanese ideologies tend to have monistic characteristics.


2. The Originality of Japanese Ideology

Chomin Nakae, a Japanese political philosopher who translated On The Social Contract, written by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, into Japanese in 1882, “declared in 1901 that ‘from antiquity to the present day, there has never been any philosophy in Japan’” (Blocker and Starling 2001, 1). Since philosophy is a systematic study, it needs a logical conceptual center. Japanese people has been borrowed this core from China, India, and Europe. They are not Japanese invention, so Nakae would like to say there is no Japanese original ideology. However, it is also true that every philosophy and religion imported to Japan has been changed; they cannot avoid being localized. This suggests that Japanese people have the own values of justice which is different from other countries.


3. Benefit to Learn the Concept of Justice in Japanese

 Learning the perception of justice in Japanese ideology is worthy for western people because Japanese ideology offers a viewpoint which western philosophy does not. Where Western philosophy is often good at determining a thing is whether black or white, it has a danger to be self-righteous. For example, even though the U.S. has tried to prevail the U.S. democratic system into other countries based on their strong belief to the perfection of the U.S. democracy (Kissinger, 2011, 18), its attempts to implant the U.S. democratic system are often not successful. On the other hand, Japanese ideology is not good at simplifying the conflict structure, but it can clarify the various aspects and the ambiguity of things. Of course, Japanese ideology is not necessarily better than other ideologies, but people cannot find the problems of Japanese ideology before understanding it.


Chap. 01. Beauty in Japan - the Depth Psychology of Japanese Ideology 


In this section, we discuss why the concept of justice has differently developed in Japan by researching the perception of beauty in Japan. People determine things as good or evil based on some reasons, but behind the logic, there are often emotional and aesthetic feelings. To rediscover the judgement in the depth of one’s mind, the research of beauty is effective, since the feeling of beauty or ugliness itself can have the function of pre-logical judgement. 


One predominant value in Japanese beauty is loving things as they are. This value can be seen in a Japanese classic literature, The Pillow Book (Makurano Soshi), written by Sei Shonagon by 1002. In the book, she says,


"In Summer, (my favorite time is) night. The Moon night is, of course, good, but even on the dark night, (I love to see) many fireflies are flying. (Perhaps, they don’t have to be many because I also love to see) the faintly shining of one or two fireflies. (Even) when it rains, I love night in summer" (Sei Shonagon, 1002; translated by Wiki author).


Instead of changing the nature of something, Sei Shonagon preferred adjusting herself into the nature. She loves the nature as it is. Philosophically, the prelogical value of loving the nature as it is can be rephrased as the absolute affirmation of the reality. Whatever the reality is, we should accept the reality, hence the absolute affirmation of the reality. This is the core of Japanese ideology, and, more or less, every subsequently imported ideology has been influenced by the concept. 


Nevertheless, Japan has also accepted Buddhism, which denies the perfection of the present reality. By accepting Buddhism, Japanese people learned that everything is inconsistent, and nothing is unbreakable. The idea is called mujo in Japanese. In Hojoki, Chomei Kamono, who was a poet and Buddhist monk in Kamakura era, explains mujo by using the metaphor of river. He says,


"...on flows the river ceaselessly, nor does its water ever stay the same. The bubbles that float upon its pools now disappear, now form a new, but never endure long. And so it is with people in this world, and with their dwellings" (McKinney, et al. 2013, 9).


This evinces some similarities to the western explanations of reality. In fact, in the western world, a pre-Socratic philosopher, Heraclitus also argues, "Over those who step into the same river ever different waters flow" (Heraclitus, 2012, 58). However, while western philosophers have often tried to overcome the inconsistency of the reality by believing in the absoluteness of the ideal world, Japanese people swallow the concept of Mujo into the absolute affirmation of the reality. 


In fact, the concept and symbol of imperfection and inconsistency have the central role of Japanese art as the part of reality. Kenko Yoshida, a writer and Buddhist monk in the early 14th Century, says,


“It is natural human feeling to yearn over the falling blossoms and the setting moon – yet some, it seems, are so insensitive that they will declare that since this branch and that have already shed their flowers, there is nothing worth seeing any longer. … Rather than gazing on a clear full moon that shines over a thousand leagues, it is infinitely more moving to see the moon near dawn and after long anticipation, tinged with most beautiful palest blue, a moon glimpsed among cedar branches deep in the mountains, its light now hidden again by the gathering clouds of an autumn shower” McKinney, et al. 2013, 122-123).


Here, Yoshida mentions that beauty exists in the gap between the image of perfection and the imperfect reality. Japanese people accept it as part of reality.  


To avoid imposing self-righteous justice, it is the necessary attitude to accept the reality as it is. However, the lack of the picture of the ideal world has a huge ideological problem, which is that, in actuality, people often cannot accept the reality as it is. Because the reality cannot be fully desirable, accepting the reality can refer to giving up the better life. It easily becomes nihilism, and it has the danger to make everything meaningless. Thus, Japanese ideology needs the concept of the absolute existence as Parmenides and Plato tried to establish in the Western world. In Japan, even before Sei Shonagon, Chomei Kamono, and Kenko Yosida, there was a person who tried to solve the issue. His name is Kukai, the pioneer of Japanese Buddhism. 


Chap. 02. Kukai - The Pioneer of Japanese Buddhism 


Kukai was born in 774 as the third son of Saeki family (Kato, 2012, 14). His family desired him to learn Confucianism instead of Buddhism. He “diligently studied Confucianism, Chinese literature, and history at the state academy where his maternal uncle, Ato no Ōtari (n.d.), was a renowned Confucian scholar” (Adolphson et al., 2007, 195). Nevertheless, he thought Confucianism does not explain the ultimate truth, and he decided to become a Buddhist. For his parents and friends, his decision was considered as the betrayal to his duty. To explain the legitimacy to become a Buddhist, Kukai wrote his first book, Rokoshiiki when he was twenty-four years old. The book was edited when he was in his fifties and published as Sangoshiiki. The title is translated to English as Essentials of the Three Teachings. Three teachings refer to Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. In the book, he compared the three traditions with each other and argued all three teachings include truth, but Daoism has the deeper truth than Confucianism, and Buddhism has the deepest truth among them (Kukai, 2016). After learning Buddhism in Japan and China, he established a new Buddhist school called the Shingon school. 


Kukai’s ideology was not the copy of Chinese or Buddhist ideology, and in this sense, Kukai is the first person who established original Japanese ideology. His ideology is well described in his late book, Hizohoyaku, which means The Precious Key to the Secret Treasury in English. In the book, he discusses about “the development of the religious mind as a process which, although entailing innumerable stages, can provisionally be divided into ten stages, ranging from those whose behavior is governed by instinctive impulse to those who have unlocked the ‘secret treasury’ and realized the ultimate truth as represented by Esoteric Buddhism” (Kukai, et al., 2004, 11). 


For Kukai, truth is something independent and solid, like a diamond. In each stage of the development of the religious mind, people can find a part of truth, but the ultimate truth exists only in the 10th stage in Kukai’s ideology.   


10 Stages of the Development of the Religious Mind (10 Jushinron in Japanese)


The first three stages are the religious mind of non-Buddhist ideologies.  

1. The Mind of the Common Person, Like a Ram. 

“The ordinary person, madly intoxicated, does not realize his own faults; He thinks only of fornication and food, just like a ram” (Kukai, 2004, 139). The person who only follows the basic instinct like a non-human animal is in this stage.


2. The Mind of the Foolish Child, Observing Abstinence.

“Influenced by external causes and conditions, he suddenly thinks of moderation in eating; Thoughts of charity sprout, just like grain when it encounters the [proper] conditions” (Kukai, 2004, 139). Confucianists are in this stage.


3. The Mind of the Young Child, without Fear. 

“The non-Buddhist is born in heaven, there for a while to obtain respite; He is like an infant or calf following its mother” (Kukai, 2004, 139). People who believe in Daoism or the existence of gods are in this stage.


Instinct, morality, and belief of gods bring people goodness somewhat, but it is not consistent and eternal like a diamond. 


The next two stages are the religious mind of early Buddhism.  

4. The Mind of Aggregates-only and No-self. 

“He only understands the existence of things (dharmas) and totally rejects a self or person” (Kukai, 2004, 140).


5. The Mind That Has Eradicated the Causes and Seeds of Karma. 

“He masters the twelve [links of dependent arising] and eradicates the seeds of ignorance; Karmic birth having been terminated, without speaking he obtains the fruit” (Kukai, 2004, 140).


These early Buddhist schools only focus on self-salvation, but lack the will to save everyone.


The 6th to 9th stages are the religious mind of Mahayana Buddhism, which was developed in China. 

6. The Mind of the Mahayana Concerned for Others. 

“He engenders compassion unconditionally, and great compassion arises for the first time; Observing [the workings of] the mind to be like illusory shadows, he negates the objects [of cognition] with [the understanding of] consciousness-only” (Kukai, 2004, 140). Hosso Buddhist school is classified into the stage. Also, in the western world, depth psychology is similar to the stage. Here, consciousness is considered as the absolute truth.   


7. The Mind Awakened to the Non-birth of the Mind. 

“When he puts an end to frivolous [arguments] with the eight negations and observes emptiness in a single moment of thought, the mind’s source becomes empty and tranquil, has no characteristics, and is at peace” (Kukai, 2004, 140). Sanron Buddhist school is classified into the stage. In this stage, people realize that everything lacks the essence which is named idea in western philosophy. The distinction between existence and non-existence is no longer important. 


8. The Mind of the One Path As It Really Is. 

“At one with thusness and originally pure, object and knowledge merge— He who knows this nature of the mind is called [Vairo]cana” (Kukai, 2004, 140). Tendai Buddhist school locates on the stage. In a sense, the 8th stage is more positive than 7th stage. In this stage, everything has a Buddhist nature, and everything is good and clean. Therefore, from plants to human, everything equally has the possibility to become Buddha.         


9. The Mind of Ultimate Own-naturelessness. 

“Water has no own-nature—it encounters wind, and then waves appear; The Dharma realm is not the ultimate—thus admonished, he immediately forges ahead” (Kukai, 2004, 140-141). The 9th stage is the highest one which can be learned by logos. Kegon Buddhist school is located at this stage. In the western world, quantum mechanics is close to the stage. In this stage, one and many exist in the same place. Therefore, even in a very tiny thing, the truth of macro-cosmos is contained. 


“‘The nine stages of the mind have no own-nature; Becoming progressively deeper and progressively more wondrous, they are all causes [for the next stage].’—These two lines reject the nine minds explained previously since none of them represents the ultimate fruit of Buddhahood” (Kukai, 2004, 213-214).


Eventually, the 10th stage is the goal of Shingon Buddhism. It is very difficult to reach, but Kukai argues that everyone has the potentiality to reach the stage. 

10. The Mind of Secret Adornment. 

“The medicine of exoteric [teachings] clears away the dust, and the mantra [teachings] lay open the vault; Secret treasures are at once displayed, and myriad virtues are instantly realized” (Kukai, 2004, 141). Studying Buddhist ideology is necessary but not sufficient to reach this stage. The deepest truth is beyond the capacity of logos, so people need special practices to acquire the ultimate truth, and the esoteric Buddhism Kukai learned in China teaches the way of right practices.


The theory of 10 stages of mind brought an original systematic doctrine in Japanese philosophy for the first time. It tries to solve the conflict between the absolute affirmation of the reality and Mujo by accepting both ideologies under the supremacy of the absolute affirmation of reality. Therefore, in the 4th to 7th stages, Kukai denies the consistency of existence, and in the 8th to 10th stages, he argues the equal goodness of everything in the reality. The contradiction of the inconstancy of the reality and the absolute truth in the reality is solved in the 9th stage by adopting Kegon ideology, which argues for the coexistence of one and many. 


From this perspective, even evilness is the part of goodness. In fact, one of the main Buddhist text in the Shingon school, Rishukyo, argues that ton, which is one of three poisons and refers to the greedy or obsessive feeling, has a good aspect. Even though ton can corrupt the ordinary people, it can be the great energy to love others from Buddha’s perspective (Kato, 2012, 113). Evilness is still the part of truth, the seed of struggling and the Buddhist nature is not essentially different.      


Also, as more practical lesson from Kukai’s ideology, there is a very solid intention to save everyone in the reality by education, as long as everyone has the Buddhist nature. Thus, Kukai’s mission was to give ordinary people the chance to cultivate the Buddhist nature, and he tried to found the first private school in Japan, in 828. He founded the private school called Shugei-shuchi-in and set the educational principle that “the rise and decline of any institution depends ultimately on the personnel, and the rise and decline of any person depends basically on the teaching” (Kitagawa, 1987, 191). Unlike the public university at that time, anyone can get into the school regardless of the social status, and like the current liberal arts, students could learn “a broad curriculum including the teachings of the Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist systems” (Kitagawa, 1987, 191).  


Connecting these ideologies with the concept of justice, there are four unique perceptions of justice.

  • There is nothing essentially good because there is no essence – the concept of Mujo.


  • Everything, which lacks the essence, is good as it is, and what we consider as evil, is still good from the perspective of Buddha – the concept of the absolute affirmation of reality.


  • It sounds contradictory that everything in the reality is good as it is even though everything lacks the essence or idea of good. From Buddha’s perspective, everything in the reality is the reflection of the Buddha. Buddha itself lacks the essence, and therefore, it is not essentially different from the ordinary people – the concept of Kegon.


  • Logos is not almighty, and to reach the truth, mind and body or knowledge and experience should not be separated. – the concept of esoteric Buddhism.


However, as described in chapter 1, after Kamakura era (1185-1333), the concept of Mujo became stronger. It links to the transition of the authority from the aristocracy to the warrior class, and since Japan was in many civil wars, the life of people very instable at that time. People were no longer looking forward the good life in the reality, but they were afraid of the life after death. They wanted to go to the Buddhist heaven called Jodo, but they consciously or unconsciously thought that they would reborn in the hell after the death. In the age of despair, Japanese ideology accepts the dualistic ideology, but in the depth understanding, the dualistic ideology ascribes to the monistic ideology.                            


Chap. 03. Shinran - Dualist Buddhism based on Monistic Ideology –


The Buddhist school which brought dualism in Japan was the Jodo school. Like Christianity, Jodo school describes heaven and the hell. The heaven is called Jodo or the pure land and the hell is called Jigoku. In Heian Era (794-1184), Kukai’s ideology, which intends to become Buddha in the reality by own behavior, made a sensation. But, in Kamakura Era (1185-1333), the ordinary people needed more radical ideology which discards the element of self-help. Many people in wartime gave up the salvation in the current life and desired to go to Jodo after death. Strictly speaking, the concepts of jodo and heaven are different. Jodo is the ideal Buddhist state created by Buddha. Since there are a lot of Buddhas, there are also a lot of different Jodos, but in Japan, an ideal Buddhist state created by Amida is called Jodo. Amida was initially a king of an ancient country, but he discarded the position as a king and became a Buddhist monk. Before he became Buddha, he promised he would not become Buddha before he saves everyone in the world, and the Jodo school advocates that the promise was completed since he became Buddha. People in the reality are struggling, but because of Amida’s promise, people can go to Jodo in the next life. 


Jodo school was originally developed in China based on Buddhist texts brought from India. In Japan, Honen was the establisher of Jodo school. Honen set the concept of Nenbutsu on the central dogma of Japanese Jodo school. “Nenbutsu, ‘Buddha-reflection,’ is urged as the means of calling forth the saving compassion of the Buddha” (Allan, 1977, 255). If a person calls the name of Amida, the person is surely saved by Amida’s promise. Honen’s originality is that he argues the only one-time Nenbutsu is enough to be saved if the person recites Nenbutsu with the strong desire to be saved. 


Honen's student, Shinran was even more radical. According to Tannisho, which was cited by Yuien in explaining Shinran’s ideology, 


“even the virtuous can attain rebirth in the Pure Land, absolutely not to speak of the wicked. But people always say that if even the wicked are able to attain rebirth in the Pure Land, how much more should the virtuous be so. Though there seems to be some suitable reason in this point, it is contrary to the main object of the benevolence of Amida Buddha… We, accompanied by evil passions, can never get free from illusion of life and death even through any strenuous, religious practice… Accordingly, the wicked who simply ask for salvation by faith are the very guests that can be reborn in the Pure Land” (Yuien, 1983, 2-3).                 


Instead of thinking the evilness as the reason of punishment, Shinaran considers the evilness as the reason of salvation. This is the critical difference between Jodo school and Christianity. At the surface, Shinran’s ideology is dualistic since it rejects the reality and desires to reborn in the ideal world. However, as a Japanese Buddhist ideology, inconsistency of existence is inherited to his ideology so that even Amida was originally a human, and any people can reborn in Jodo even though Christianity chose people who should be saved. Because of the promise of Amida, everyone in the reality is guaranteed to be saved in the next life, and therefore, in the depth understanding, Shinran’s ideology is monistic rather than dualistic. 


Something about justice which can be learned From Shinran’s ideology is that justice is not to exclude evilness of a thing, but it is to accept evilness of humanity and by that save everyone from the struggle ascribing from evilness of the human nature. 


Chap. 04. Michiko Ishimure - Facing the Modernity -

*See also Climate justice & Disability justice


After around 250 - 300 years of peacetime in the Edo era, the Meiji government was established and tried to modernize Japan. Modernization is, in another word, westernization. Many Japanese people studied abroad to Europe and learned the newest European ideologies at that time. It causes positive effects in Japan. In fact, Japan was the only competitive country in Asia in the World Wars, and after these wars, Japan economically and democratically developed. However, the effect of modernization is not always positive. Modernization also causes new problems. 


In the Western world, justice is the scissors to separate a thing into goodness and evilness. The positive aspect of a thing is maximized, and the negative aspect of thing is erased. But, from Buddhist ideology, what we believe as good or evil is inconsistent. The good aspect is not necessarily good in any time. Therefore, when people try to maximize the good aspect, they are maximizing both goodness and evilness of an aspect.


A tragic example is the environmental problem, and even though it is now considered as a serious problem, until the near past, the effect of the environmental problem was not rightly evaluated. In fact, Japanese people right after WWII only focused on the economical development, and they overlooked the damage of the environment they live in. As the result, Japanese lands were poisoned by the four major pollution-caused illnesses. 


Pollution-caused illness is another face of the modernity. A civic writer, Michiko Ishimure created awareness of such problem in her research of the Minamata disease, which is the polluted-caused illness occurred in her home region, caused by industrial wastewater from the plants of Chisso. The region, Minamata, is Ishimure’s hometown. In her text, Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow, she says:


“Suddenly I recalled the fate of Lady Ch’i of Ting-t’ao, the concubine of Emperor Kao-tsu (206-195 B.C.) of the Western Han Dynasty… Empress Lu gave orders for Lady Ch’I to be imprisoned. She cut off her hands, feet and ears, gouged out her eyes, gave her a portion to drink which made her dumb and threw her into the toilet, calling her a ‘human pig’ ... Like Lady Ch’i of the Han Dynasty, those who have died of Minamta disease were multilated and died in atrocious pain. However, their death was only apartment, for their ghosts still haunt this world, awaiting their time for revenge. If the inhuman crime of Empress Lu has won a Conspicuous place in history, how much ore so should the systematic annihilation of the Minamata fishermen by modern industry! What kind of personality should a historian have or acquire in order to record this crime for posterity? … It will not sufficient to say that what Chisso did to those fishermen was just another form of the ruthless oppression of the working classes by monopolistic capitalism. As a native of Minamata, I know that the language of the victims of Minamata Disease – both that of the spirits of the dead who are unable to die, and that of the survivors who are little more than living ghosts – represents the pristine form of poetry before our societies were divided into classes. ... In order to preserve for posterity this language in which the historic significance of the Mercury Poisoning Incident is crudely branded, I must drink an infusion of my animism and ‘pre-animism’ and become a sorceress cursing modern times forever” (Ishimure, 2003, 60-61).   




Apparently, she is not just insisting the significance to protect the environment. Rather, she is accusing the modernity’s personality which imposes the debt to weak people in order to increase the property and convenience. In the novel, an old fisherman, Sensuke says, “How could I come down with Minamata Disease, that ugly, shameful illness?” (Ishimure, 2003, 62). As a fisherman, Sensuke had stayed away from the civilization and enjoyed the self-sufficient life. “Rather it was an indirect accusation leveled at those who had brought about the incident, who for a long time had tried to conceal it and to deny all responsibility for it and who, after this incident was finally made public, did their utmost to play down its gravity and to erase it from public consciousness” (Ishimure, 2003, 62). 


While she expresses her anger to the modernity, she finds beauty from the victims. When she interviews to the grandparents of Moku, the grandfather says to Moku,


“‘This stone got caught in Grandpa’s net while he was fishing out at sea. Its resemblance to a human figure was so striking that Grandpa thought it was a godsend, and that he should make it into a guardian god for our family… Now there is a living spirit in this stone; that is, the stone has become a god…When your Grandpa dies, just think that this stone is Grandpa’s soul and say your players to it… You were born with twisted limbs and dumb like a fish, but your soul is much deeper than that of the kids in the village’” (Ishimure, 2003, 195).


It is the purest form of belief, and even though there is no logical dogma in his belief, no religion can be truer. Thus, “Ishimure mentioned in the interview with Ivan Illich that ‘it might be an extreme expression, but by experiencing Minamata, I felt that all religions we knew were terminated’” (Shimura, 2019, 16).  


Here, Ishimure’s ideology is on the way of Kukai and Shinran for these points below:

  • Truth cannot be perceived by logos.
  • Everyone has the seed of goodness.
  • When people are in the huge despair, the seed of goodness is revealed.


From her perspective, justice is not to divide a thing into goodness and evilness. Rather, it is to recognize the evil aspect of our humanity and responsibly face it. It is not enough to criticize the evilness, but it needs to forgive the evilness. Of course, it is not to surrender the evilness, but it is to realize anyone can have the evilness, and therefore, victims and oppressors are not different existences. A survivor of the Minamata disease, Masato Ogata says, 


“For the past forty years I owned a car to drive, a TV set, a refrigerator, and a plastic-based fishing boat. In other words, I am surrounded by so many things made at chemical factories like Chisso. For example, most of the vinyl chloride used for the faucets at home was made at Chisso, or a more recent example of a Chisso product is the liquid crystal used for computer and TV screens. We live surrounded by Chisso products. If we talk only about the Minamata incident, the Chisso Corporation is responsible for it, but in this present time, we all have already become ‘another Chisso’” (Ogata, 2018, 13).


Consequently, since everyone lacks the essence, anyone can be victims and oppressors in different situations. Here, justice is actually to recognize goodness and evilness as different aspects of a common thing, and standing on the perspective, both oppressors and victims need to share the problem awareness to confront their issues.      




From the ideologies of Kukai to Ishimure, the concept of justice in Japan was uniquely developed under the local monistic ideology. The monistic ideology, or the absolute affirmation of the reality, has been challenged by imported ideologies. First, when Buddhism was prevailed in Japan, the concept of Mujo denies the consistency of the reality. Then Kukai established Shingon Buddhist school. Many are the reflection of one, which is Buddha, and the essence of one is empty. Everything is, thus, lacks the essence, but since many are equal to one, everything is good in the state of empty. Next, in Kamakura era, Shinran developed the ideology of Jodo school. It was a dualistic ideology, but because Shinran pursued the absolute salvation of everyone, the monistic characteristics is revealed again. Shinran argued bad people are promised to be saved by Amida. About the relationship between goodness and evilness, they are inseparable and not essentially different. Finally, the wave of modernization hit Japanese society. The new ideologies imported from the Western world are strict dualism, and Japan developed in the incredible speed, adopting the Western ideologies. However, the modernization of Japan is actually based on the huge sacrifice. Ishimure exposed the hidden personality of the modernity and points out the danger to avoid facing the responsibility. We are living things, and we have life. Goodness, evilness, and any other values are attached to our life. Since our life is equal, problems regarding of life is the problem of everyone. Avoiding being captured by specific positions like victims and oppressors, to solve the problems regarding life as a shared problem is what Japanese philosophical justice is trying to do. 


(Juntaro Hirose: jhiro001 <AT> plattsburgh <DOT> edu)




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