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Book: Global Phenomenologies of Religion

Chapter: “What’s Wrong with Philosophy?”: Interviews with Toshimaro Hanazono and Yoshiko Oda (Japan)

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38475


This chapter consists of two interviews. The first is with Toshimaro Hanazono, a retired professor from the Department of Religious Studies at Tohoku University, which is known among Japanese scholars as a central institution for the study of the phenomenology of religion (PoR). While Hanazono encountered PoR through engagement with European scholarship, German philosophy in particular, the second interviewee, Yoshiko Oda, has taken a radically different route to PoR. She started her graduate study at the Department of Religious Studies at Kyoto University, where scholars focused on German philosophy. However, she then went to the University of Chicago and enrolled in the Divinity School’s area of the History of Religions, which has often been considered to be a North American equivalent to PoR. Having experienced two very different disciplines, she was completely “converted” from the Kyoto School to the Chicago School and has been trying to revalorize J. M. Kitagawa’s history of religions. Tohoku and Kyoto University make two of the seven national universities established before the Second World War. Both interviews were conducted separately in Fall 2016, with Hanazono at Tohoku University and with Oda at the University of Tokyo.

Chapter Contributors

  • Satoko Fujiwara ( - satfuji) 'University of Tokyo'