Who is Kitaro Nishida?
The philosopher known as Kitaro Nishida lived in the same era as his Zen counter part, high school classmate and friend D.T. Suzki. Nishda suffered in his young life with the death of his siblings, father’s bankruptcy and parents’ divorce. In college he discovered a love for philosophy, and wrote many books even while teaching grade school. He was often controversial in his lifetime for incorporating Western with Eastern ideas.
An Architectural Experience
The museum dedicated to him was built in his hometown of Kahoku and designed by Tadao Ando. The museum’s observatory is spectacular. The museum is on a hill, with no other building to equal its height. You can see the landscape of the town, the mountains and even the beach.
Kitaro Nishida’s Philosophy
Most of the exhibition is only in Japanese, so we recommend considering his philosophy before you go. Here’s a few tidbits:
People create their environment; the environment creates people.
In a single word, the realization of one’s self is Good.
The soul exists in a place of conflict and contradiction, and where there is contradiction and conflict, there exists a soul.
Self-creation is not separation from the world, but rather becoming an element in a creative one.
After parking your car, you’ll need to walk through “The Way of Thinking” to get to the museum. When I visited, it was the beautiful cherry blossom season.
An English pamphlet for the museum is available online.
Nishida Kitaro Museum of Philosophy
Uchihisumii 1, Kahoku
30 minutes by car from Kaname Inn
photo credit: Nik van der Giesen (hitonoto)