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The Journal of Japanese Language Literature Studies > Volume 11(1); 2020 > Article
Border Crossings: The Journal of Japanese-Language Literature Studies 2020;11(1): 4-7.
doi: https://doi.org/10.22628/bcjjl.2021.11.1.4
Some Reflections on Cross-Bordering Thoughts :Re-reading Eugen Herrigel
Stephan KÖHN
Professor, University of Cologne/Germany
思想の越境性を考える ―― オイゲン·ヘリゲルを再読
(ドイツ)ケルン大学日本学科教授。専門は日本近現代文学、近 世出版文化、メディア史、ポップカルチャー。
Correspondence  Stephan KÖHN ,Email: stephan.koehn@uni-koeln.de
Published online: 30 December 2020.
Copyright ©2021 The Global Institute for Japanese Studies, Korea University
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The German philosopher Eugen Herrigel can be considered one of the most influential intellectuals introducing Zen Buddhism to a Western readership in the twentieth century. His works translated in many languages achieved cult status with many readers in Europe and Japan, respectively. Herrigel, who worked for almost six years as a lecturer at the Imperial University in Sendai, was fascinated by Zen Buddhism right from the beginning and started practicing Japanese archery as an alternative for experiencing the mysteries of Zen instead of the usual way of ascetic meditation. It was therefore a happy coincidence that Herrigel became a disciple of Awa Kenzô, a very famous archer and charismatic founder of a new, spiritually oriented archery school of that time. When Herrigel finally returned to Germany, he began writing about his experiences with both Japanese archery, and Zen Buddhism. As one of the very few experts of that time, who could claim that everything in his books is based on firsthand experiences, Herrigel became in next to no time an authority of Zen all over Europe. So, at first glance, Herrigel’s work seem to be a prime example for a successful border-crossing of eastern thought. However, a critical re-reading of his work will demonstrate the difficulties of border-crossing–then and now.
Keywords: Zen Buddhism, Mysticism, Japanese Archery, National Socialism, Eastern Thought

キ―ワ―ド: 禅宗, 神秘主義, 弓道, 国家社会主義, 東洋的思想
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