Manuscript of philosopher Kitaro Nishida uploaded on Kyoto school digital archive

Kyodo

Researchers at Kyoto University have created an online archive on prominent Japanese philosophers, including Kitaro Nishida, that allows users to see their handwritten manuscripts through thousands of digital images.

The Kyoto School Archive offers 20 items kept by the Kyoto University school of letters library, including handwritten manuscripts of a dissertation by Nishida (1870-1945), known for works such as “Zen no Kenkyu” (“An Inquiry into the Good”), through some 3,200 downloadable images.

The archive at www.kyoto-gakuha.info also offers historical items by another prominent philosopher, Hajime Tanabe (1885-1962), such as notes he made in preparation for lectures.

Nishida and Tanabe are known as core members of a group of thinkers known as the Kyoto School that grew out of the university’s predecessor, Kyoto Imperial University.

“We want to make widely accessible original (documents) of the Nishida philosophy, part of what you might call Japan’s modern cultural heritage,” said Susumu Hayashi, a professor in the university’s graduate school of letters involved in building the archive.

The archive comes with a system to comb through handwritten documents so users can search for specific words in the images.