Leibliches Üben als Teil einer philosophischen Lebenskunst: Die Verkörperung von Kata in den japanischen Wegkünsten

European Journal of Japanese Philosophy 2:179-197 (2017)
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In this paper, I try to show how Japanese practices of self-cultivation found in the so-called “ways” can be interpreted as embodied forms of “caring for oneself ” and, therefore, as part of a philosophical Lebenskunst or art of living. To this end, I refer to phenomenological accounts of the body as well as to a unique notion of practice found in the writings of Dōgen Kigen, a thirteenth-century Japanese Zen master. Central to this essay is a concern with embodying kata or pre-defined patterns of movement and posture used in nearly all practices of self-cultivation in Japan. To approach this question, I look at the etymological roots of the term kata and its use in the writings of Zeami, the foremost representative of classical Noh theater, both as author and as actor. This is followed by an analysis of certain aspects of the embodiment of kata and the way it is described in Japanese literature.

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Leon Krings
Universität Hildesheim


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