Korean and Japanese Philosophy
November 23, 2014 2:27 PM   Subscribe

I love reading Chinese philosophy, and I'm looking to get into some Korean philosophy, just to see what their take is. But I'm having trouble figuring out where to start. I'd like to read uniquely Korean things, or takes on confucianism and taoism, from any time period, or just interesting thoughts posed by Korean philosophers. I'd also like to read some Japanese texts in the same vein, and once again don't really know where to start. I'm looking for the best English translations. Any suggestions?
posted by Gargantuantoe to Religion & Philosophy (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: At least regarding the Japanese, the place to start is "The Book of Five Rings" by Miyamoto Musashi. Pretty much any translation will be fine.

A lot of the modern conception of Bushido comes from this book.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:31 PM on November 23, 2014

Best answer: Do you include Buddhism in your definition of philosophy? Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn is (well, was) probably the most well-known Korean Buddhist thinker in the West. Many of his essays were translated into English.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 4:02 PM on November 23, 2014

Zen in the Art of Archery.
posted by Nevin at 7:59 PM on November 23, 2014

Dogen is a pretty heavy hitter in the Japanese side of things. I can't think of any specific works- were part of my college reading but can't remember and the book doesn't seem to have made it.
posted by KernalM at 8:00 PM on November 23, 2014

Best answer: For Japanese, you ought to get hold of Sources of Japanese Tradition. It's an anthology, so it has a broad sampling of a wide range of writing of the sort you seem to be after.

"Realizing Genjōkōan" is a pretty readable modern introduction to Dogen, incidentally. Any translation of "The ten foot square hut", "An account of my hut," etc. by Kamo no Chōmei will be a good and short introduction to medieval Japanese Buddhist pessimism. Probably the key figure for self-consciously Japanese philosophy (rejecting Confucianism and so on) is Motoori Norinaga, but I haven't kept track of what's available in English so I can't make a specific recommendation, sorry!
posted by No-sword at 10:01 PM on November 23, 2014

Response by poster: This is a great starting place, and pretty much exactly what I was looking for, so off I go to explore a bit more. Thanks everyone!
posted by Gargantuantoe at 11:46 AM on November 24, 2014

Essays in Zen Buddhism by DT Suzuki is pretty interesting, although it's not the kind of thing that's easy to pick up and put down. I know this has already been answered, but just for others who are looking. :)
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 11:12 AM on November 26, 2014

Waaaaay too late, but for Korean:

To Become a Sage: The essence of Neo-Confucianism
posted by shii at 3:13 PM on January 3, 2015

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