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May 27, 2005

Pain and Civilization

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The book, Painless Civilization was published in 2003, and lots of comments and criticisms appeared in Japan since then. The Korean translation was published this year. I don't know how it has been accepted there, however, several book reviews appeared in Korean newspapers, and we can see some comments on Korean blogs. I translated Preface and the first section of Chapter 1 a year ago. I couldn't continue translating because I had to write another book in Japanese last year, but I think I have to start translation again this summer.

By the way, Haruka Miki, a former college student at Hitotsubashi University (she was there until this spring), published her BA thesis on the web, and in her paper she discussed "painless civilization" and capitalism from the perspective of risk management. This is probably the first serious commentary on Painless Civilization written in English. Please see her page for details. I don't know her personally, but it is good news that young people like her have an interest in this topic and think about it seriously at college. She seems to have been a student in Tetsuro Kato's class.

Photo: A cafe near my apartment

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

May 21, 2005

Narrative approach

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The first meeting on life studies at Kanazawa city was over. The meeting was successful. We had a lot of discussions on the issues of life studies. During the discussion I found some very important topics for our future research. And after that meeting I have been re-examining the definition and core concepts of life studies I had written on the life studies page.

One of the most interesting things at the meeting was that we spent the whole two days for the self-introductions of the members. All of us talked about ourselves, why we were there, and their own relationships with life studies. We discussed "narrative approach" to life studies as one of the topics at the meeting, but in fact, the meeting itself was, in a sense, a "narrative based" meeting. Very interesting. At our meeting, talking about why we were here was considered very important for all of us. We reconfirmed the importance of "narrative approach" in life studies. But on the other hand, we should keep in mind that in narrative approach everything can be interpreted as a "narrative" or a "story." A theory that explains everything is not a theory at all. Narrative approach is very attractive, but we have to be deliberate in using it in our research.

I think of rewriting the denifition of life studies in the near future. Life studies is evolving. Please wait for a new description of life studies on the life studies page.

Photo: A statue in the garden of Metropolitan Government Office

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

May 13, 2005

Principle of life studies

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We are going to have the first meeting on life studies at Kanazawa city, on May 14 and 15. This is the first gathering of this kind. This is a closed meeting because we prefer to talk about issues of life, death, and nature, frankly and in a relaxed atmosphere. Many of the members are graduate students who are interested in life studies. Today I was writing the handouts of my presentation.

Life studies is a very new research field. I coined the word in 1988, and I have published several books on it in Japanese. Hence, people who are interested in the topics of bioethics and contemporary philosphy sometimes know the word "life studies," but they usually don't know what life studies is at all. This is because I was not able to give a clear definition of "life studies" until recently, so I presume many readers of my books would have been frustrated so far.

I wrote the article, "What is life studies?" on INLS website some years ago and revised a year and half ago. However, I will have to rewrite it completely based on my presentations tomorrow at Kanazawa. And I am planning to write a paper on the outline of life studies in a Japanese journal, and translate it to English by the end of this year. Then, you will be able to know "what life studies is" more clearly. I hope this translated paper will attract international readers and more people are going to join our life studies movement.

Tomorrow I will talk about the outline of the life studies approach, and go on to talk about "what is 'unregretable life'? ", "the importance of never thinking of oneself as an exception in research" , "the defference of life studies and religion" and so on, which are some of the most important topics of life studies.

By the way, my paper written almost three years ago, "Cross-cultural Approaches to the Philosophy of Life in the Comtemporary World: From Bioethics to Life Studies" was published in the book, Genomics in Asia: A Clash of Bioethical Interests?, edited by Margaret Sleeboom, Kegan Paul, 2004. In this paper I talked about life studies, but it should be updated now. I will upload this paper soon.

Photo: Kenzo Tange's Building, from another angle.

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

May 07, 2005

Sexuality and public lectures

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I am now editing a new book, a collection of public lectures on life studies. This book will be published probably in July this year. This is a book for beginners of life studies and philosophy of life. I have to finish editing by this weekend, so I haven't had time to update this site. And I have to go back to my work after writing this entry.....

By the way, AmbivaBlog talked about the book, The Insensitive Man, in her posts:

More Morioka: Male Sexuality Exposed?

and

Male Sexuality - From The Horse's Mouth

Very interesting. Thank you Amba.

Photo: Kenzo Tange's Building

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org