Yuko Ishihara

Profie photo of Yuko Ishihara

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of Copenhagen

yishihar [at] fc.ritsumei.ac.jp (Replace "[at]" with "@")
Office Location:
Office Hours:
Thursday 13:00-14:00 (All office hours are conducted via Zoom until further notice.)


  • Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of Copenhagen

I received my Ph.D. degree from the University of Copenhagen in 2017 with a dissertation titled, "Transcendental Philosophy and its Transformations: Heidegger and Nishida’s critical engagements with transcendental philosophy in the late 1920s." From April 2017 to March 2018, I was a postdoctoral research fellow, and the first philosopher to be employed, at the Earth-Life Science Institute in Tokyo Institute of Technology where I explored avenues in which phenomenology and modern Japanese philosophy could provide insights into the origins of life research. I was also a visiting scholar from February 2017 to March 2019 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton where I conducted joint research with Piet Hut, the head of the Program in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Message to Students

Today we suffer an overload of information. In a time like this, it is essential that we cultivate critical thinking skills and a reflective awareness of the surrounding situation and your place in it. We need the former ability so that we can filter information according to critical standards. We need the latter kind of awareness so that we don't get lost in this confusing world. The GLA provides an excellent environment to cultivate both of these skills. With our rich and comprehensive curriculum, we will help you become a skillful and responsible human being with the potential to be active leaders in the global society.

Courses Taught

  • Japanese Philosophy
  • Special Lecture on Civilization Studies II

Japanese Philosophy

The Meiji Restoration was the beginning of a long period of struggle for many intellectuals in Japan to find their feet in the new ground brought forth with the introduction of modern western thought. This course will cover some of the prominent thinkers and their main ideas from this period as well as their influence on and significance for today's global society. The main focus will be the Kyoto School thinkers who developed an original way of thinking by combining insights from western philosophy and Zen Buddhism. By the end of the course, students will have gained an in-depth understanding of the main ideas developed by Kyoto School philosophers as well as tools to critically approach modern western ways of thinking.

Research Interests

Kyoto School Tradition, Phenomenology, Comparative Philosophy, Philosophy of Play

My research interest lies in the intersection of modern Japanese philosophy (Kyoto School tradition in particular) and phenomenology. I am primarily interested in the question of how far—as well as with what method—we can and should go in the phenomenological return 'back to the things themselves.' Recently I have been working on a project that attempts to reinterpret the phenomenological epoché by taking it out of its limited context as it was introduced by Edmund Husserl and giving it a more practical spin by presenting it as a way to 'play with reality' in the sense of becoming co-players with reality.

See more on Ritsumeikan University Researchers Database.

Supervision Information

I am happy to supervise any topics that deal with modern Japanese philosophy (including but not limited to the Kyoto School tradition), east-west comparative philosophy and phenomenology. I am also interested in interdisciplinary topics that engage with the intersection of philosophy and psychology, neuroscience, design, technology, etc.

Representative Publications

  • "Nishida and Ueda on Philosophical Reflection", in Tetsugaku Companion to Ueda Shizuteru: Thoughts about Experience, Language, and Zen (Series: Tetsugaku Companions to Japanese Philosophy), Raquel Bouso et al. (eds.), Springer, forthcoming.
  • "Heidegger and Nishida’s transformation of transcendental reflection", in Phenomenology and Japanese Philosophy (Series: Tetsugaku Companions to Japanese Philosophy Vol. 3), S. Taguchi and A. Altobrando (eds.), Springer, pp. 77-94, 2020.
  • "Nishida Kitarō's awakened realism: going radically transcendental", Metodo: International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy, Special Issue 1.3 (On the Transcendental), pp. 57-84, 2019.
  • 「西田幾多郎の場所論と超越論的基礎づけ主義」『日本の哲学』(昭和堂)第18号, pp. 93-112, 2017.