Famous Philosophers from Japan

List of notable or famous philosophers from Japan, with bios and photos, including the top philosophers born in Japan and even some popular philosophers who immigrated to Japan. If you're trying to find out the names of famous Japanese philosophers then this list is the perfect resource for you. These philosophers are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known philosopher from Japan is included when available.

These people, like Gudo Wafu Nishijima and Hakuin Ekaku include images when available.

This historic philosophers from Japan list can help answer the questions "Who are some Japanese philosophers of note?" and "Who are the most famous philosophers from Japan?" These prominent philosophers of Japan may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected Japanese philosophers.

Use this list of renowned Japanese philosophers to discover some new philosophers that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
Photo: Freebase / Public domain

  • Arai Hakuseki (新井 白石, March 24, 1657 – June 29, 1725) was a Confucianist, scholar-bureaucrat, academic, administrator, writer and politician in Japan during the middle of the Edo period, who advised the shōgun Tokugawa Ienobu. His personal name was Kinmi or Kimiyoshi (君美). Hakuseki (白石) was his pen name. His father was a Kururi han samurai Arai Masazumi (新井 正済).
    • Age: Dec. at 68 (1657-1725)
    • Birthplace: Edo
  • Daisaku Ikeda
    Photo: user uploaded image
    Daisaku Ikeda (池田 大作, Ikeda Daisaku, born 2 January 1928) is a Japanese Buddhist philosopher, educator, author, and nuclear disarmament advocate. He has served as the third president and then honorary president of the Soka Gakkai, the largest of Japan's new religious movements. Ikeda is the founding president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), the world's largest Buddhist lay organization with approximately 12 million practitioners in 192 countries and territories.Ikeda was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1928, to a family of seaweed farmers. He survived the devastation of World War II as a teenager, which he said left an indelible mark on his life and fueled his quest to solve the ...more
    • Age: 95
    • Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
  • D. T. Suzuki
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki (鈴木 大拙 貞太郎 Suzuki Daisetsu Teitarō; he rendered his name "Daisetz" in 1894; 18 October 1870 – 12 July 1966) was a Japanese author of books and essays on Buddhism, Zen (Chan) and Shin that were instrumental in spreading interest in both Zen and Shin (and Far Eastern philosophy in general) to the West. Suzuki was also a prolific translator of Chinese, Japanese, and Sanskrit literature. Suzuki spent several lengthy stretches teaching or lecturing at Western universities, and devoted many years to a professorship at Ōtani University, a Japanese Buddhist school. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963.
    • Age: Dec. at 95 (1870-1966)
    • Birthplace: Kanazawa, Japan
  • Ennin

    Ennin (圓仁 or 円仁, 793 CE or 794 CE – 864 CE), better known in Japan by his posthumous name, Jikaku Daishi (慈覺大師), was a priest of the Tendai school of Buddhism in Japan, and its third Zasu (座主, "Head of the Tendai Order"). Ennin was instrumental in expanding the Tendai Order's influence, and bringing back crucial training and resources from China particularly esoteric Buddhist training, and Pure Land teachings.
    • Birthplace: Shimotsuke Province
  • Fujiwara Seika
    Photo: user uploaded image

    Fujiwara Seika

    Fujiwara Seika (藤原 惺窩, February 8, 1561 – October 19, 1619) was a Japanese neo-Confucian philosopher in the Edo period.His most well-known student was Hayashi Razan (1583–1657).
    • Age: Dec. at 57 (1561-1619)
    • Birthplace: Harima Province
  • George Ohsawa
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    George Ohsawa, born Nyoichi Sakurazawa (櫻澤 如一), October 18, 1893 – April 23, 1966, was the founder of the macrobiotic diet. When living in Europe he went by the pen names of Musagendo Sakurazawa, Nyoiti Sakurazawa, and Yukikazu Sakurazawa. He also used the French first name Georges while living in France, and his name is sometimes also given this spelling. He wrote about 300 books in Japanese and 20 in French. He defined health on the basis of seven criteria: lack of fatigue, good appetite, good sleep, good memory, good humour, precision of thought and action, and gratitude.
    • Age: Dec. at 72 (1893-1966)
    • Birthplace: Kyoto, Keihanshin, Japan