« Racist cartoon image | Go to Blog Top | Contemporary Asian philosophy? »

Method of combining living and studying


My 1997's book, An Intellectual Method of Facing Oneself, was republished today from Chikuma Shobo publishers as a handy edition. This is a collection of essays on life, death, sexuality, novels, movies, etc. The first and second chapters are dedicated to an outline of "life studies." I believe this will be a good introductory book for college students and/or teenagers who are interested in philosophical thinking.

I don't have time to translate this book into English. Instead I am now writing a long paper on life studies in Japanese, and I think of translating it after it is published in an academic journal.

I am often asked whether "life studies" is a new version of "bioethics." The answer is no. Life studies is a new method of combining "living and studying" that was found in the process of criticizing current bioethics. Life studies is a methodological mixture of philosophy of life, way of living, and criticism of contemporary civilization. Not only academic research but also various life-study activities outside an academic context constitute life studies. Anyway, the image of life studies has changed a lot since I created "What is life studies" page. My recent paper "Painless Civilization and Fundamental Sense of Security" might serve as another introductory essay to life studies.

Today I had a chat with Kaori Sasaki, who has just finished writing her Ph.D. thesis at Lancaster University, UK. We discussed about the academic atmospheres in the UK and Japan, and the difference between Queen's English and American English. Every time I "do" philosophy I use Japanese, and then put it into English. English is not a good language for me to do philosophy. This is mainly because my native language is Japanese, but this difficulty might also come from the nature of English language (and culture).

Photo: A bookstore near my apartment

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

About this Blog

This is the official blog of



Hello Prof.Morioka. I'm a former Hitotsubashi student and studied under Prof.Kato Tetsuro. Gobusata shitemasu. I've used your theory in my BA thesis. It's been awhile since writing the thesis and I've settled myself with my work (yes, the job that is quite unique for students in Kato seminar), I'm once again interested in the self "cultivation" activity/study. Reading your new book and paper and your blog will be an exciting start. I could totally synthesize myself with your comment on language and thinking. English is the best language in business world but somehow I feel much comfortable with non-English language i.e. French when it comes to the concepts related to mentalities & thinking.

Totsuzen shiturei itashimashita. Regards, Miki

Hi, miki. Nice to hear from you. How is your work in the bussiness world? If there is something I can do to help you self-cultivate please let me know. By the way, you speak French as well, that's great. I can only read elementary French but I can't speak or write. This is my personal view, but Japanese is a fairly good language for philosophy (zen, Kyoto school, for example).

ha masahiro, I think you may be right, I write also more on german when I want to write sth. real serious, that´s really a good question why? maybe we conenct our feelings with special expression, and have the feeling this gets lost when once translated. actually in our times of translators, of whom a lot exist, this should not be a problem, but seldom they serve common philosophy... thanks masahiro arash

thanks masahiro for you very stimualting comment on my blog, I added sth. on parents love. really interesting theme. I think you have a daugther , right? wish you all good things for her and you. your point on protection of the loved one is very good, did you know it has been used as a major argument in the cold war and the atomic programs? I get this from reading max born, a scientist of 20.th century, a friend of einstein and an opponent of atomic warfare. I think in him there is a glimpse of what you call life philosophy. thanks a lot arash.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)