Masaharu Anesaki (姉崎 正治 Anesaki Masaharu?, born July 25, 1873 – July 23, 1949), also known under his pen name "Chōfū Anesaki" (姉崎 嘲風 Akasaki Chōfū?), was a leading Japanese intellectual and scholar of the Meiji period. Anesaki is credited as being the father of religious studies in Japan, but also wrote on a variety of subjects including culture, literature, and politics. He was also a member of the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations.
After studies in Philosophy at the Tokyo Imperial University, he spent three years in Europe (1900–1903) with partial support from Albert Kahn, the French Philanthropist. During this time he studied under Deussen, Hermann Oldenberg, Gerbe, and Albrecht Weber in Germany, as well as Thomas William Rhys Davids in England.
He spent 1913 to 1915 as a visiting scholar at Harvard University lecturing on Japanese literature and life. The lecture notes from this period were revised and were later the base for the book History of Japanese Religion. He was also instrumental in founding the scholarly collection that became the library of the University of Tokyo.
A devout Nichiren Buddhist, he also published such titles as "How Christianity appeals to a Japanese Buddhist" (Hibbert Journal, 1905). He translated Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung into Japanese and explored terms of understanding between Buddhism and western Philosophy.
- Nichiren: The Buddhist Prophet, 1919.
- Hanatsumi Nikki, 1909 (recently translated as Flowers of Italy 2009)
- Quelques pages d'histoire religieuse du Japon, 1921
- A Concordance to the History of Kirishitan Missions, 1930
- History of Japanese Religion. With special Reference to the social and moral Life of the Nation, 1930
- Art, Life and Nature in Japan, 1933
- Religious Life of the Japanese People. Its present Status and historical Background, 1938
Kitagawa, Joseph M., Review of History of Japanese Religion by Masaharu Anesaki The Journal of Religion, Vol. 44, No. 3. (Jul., 1964), pp. 273–274.
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