Departmental Bulletin Paper Japanese and Lacanian Ways of Thinking: An Invitation to Dialogue

BLONDELOT, Xavier  ,  SAURET, Marie-Jean

It seems, on first reading, that Lacan did not mention Japan very often.However, when his teaching is examined more closely, it becomes clear thathe often referred to Japan. Among his many references to Japanese culture,his encounter with Zen was particularly striking. This encounter forms thebasis for a possible dialogue between Lacan’s work and Japanese philosophy,especially that of Nishida Kitarō. Both started by returning to Descartes.Where Lacan was seeking to conceptualize the subject of the unconscious,Nishida was formulating his theory of the true self. Both were looking for adifferent kind of subject than that usually found in Western philosophy. Theirreturns to Descartes were intended to go beyond his thought, to open up adifferent approach, with Zen serving as a point of reference. The resonancesbetween Lacan’s and Nishida’s ways of thinking as explored in this articleserve as the basis for a reflection on the relevance of psychoanalysis and thepossibility of analytic experience in Japan.

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