Tomonaga Sanjūrō

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Tomonaga Sanjūrō
Born March 25, 1871
Nagasaki Prefecture, Higashisonogi, Kawatana
Died September 18, 1951
Other names Sanjūrō Tomonaga
Era Contemporary, Post-Modern
Region Japanese philosophy
School Kyoto School, History of Philosophy, Renaissance Philosophy, Thomism, Neo-Kantianism.
Main interests
Renaissance, Early Modern, Kant, History of Philosophy

Tomonaga Sanjūrō (朝永 三十郎?, 1871–1951) was a Japanese philosopher and a renowned professor emeritus of the Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern, and Kantian philosophy at the University of Kyoto in early 20th century. He was one of the leading thinkers from the Kyoto School. His son, Shinichirō Tomonaga, is also famous for receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for the development of quantum electrodynamics.


Tomonaga was born in Nagasaki Prefecture the second son of Tomonaga Jinjirō, a samurai of the Ōmura Domain,in 1871. After graduating from Nagasaki Ōmura Junior High School (which is now known as Nagasaki Prefectural Omura High School) and then First Higher School, he entered the Tokyo Imperial University. After finishing his degree from the same university, he became the assistant professor of philosophy at the Imperial University of Kyoto in 1907 and then full professor in 1913. He mainly lectured on Western Philosophy and the History of Philosophy; and, along with Nishida Kitarō and Tanabe Hajime, constituted the important intellectual movement of modern Japan, i.e., the Kyoto School. Tomonaga was known for being an unprolific writer but left remarkable works (e.g., "The History of Self-consciousness in relation to the Self of Modernity," "Philosophy from Renaissance to Kant," "Kant's Theory of Peace," and others) and taught many students who later became renowned Japanese philosophers (e.g., Amano Teiyū, Obara Kuniyoshi, Yamauchi Tokuryū, Kosaka Masaaki). He retired from Kyoto Imperial University in 1931 and then became full professor at Ōtani University.


  • (1902) An Introduction to Philosophy (哲学綱要).
  • (1905) A Dictionary of Philosophy (哲学辞典).
  • (1907) Philosophy and Life (哲学と人生).
  • (1909) Philosophy of Person and Philosophy of Beyond Person (人格の哲学と超人格の哲学).
  • (1916) The History of Self-consciousness in relation to the Self of Modernity: New Idealism and Its Context (近世に於ける「我」の自覚史 新理想主義と其背景).
  • (1922) Kant's Theory of Peace (カントの平和論).
  • (1925) Decartes (デカート).
  • (1936) Meditations of Descartes(デカルト省察録)
  • (1948) A Short Work for the History of Philosophy: Rousseau, Kant, and Lotze (哲学史的小品 ルソー・カント・ロッツェ).
  • (1949) "Philosophy From Renaissance to Kant" in Vol. 1 of the History of Western Philosophy (西洋近世哲学史 第1冊 ルネッサンス及び先カントの哲学).


  • Tomonaga Sanjūrō, The Collected Essays of Prof. Tomonoga in Honor of His 60th Birthday, eds. Amano Tenyū (Tokyo, Iwanami Shoten, 1931).
  • Shibazaki Atsuchi, A Recognition of the International Relation in Modern Japan: Tomonaga Sanjūrō and "Kant's Theory of Peace" (Tokyo, Sōbunsha, 2009).

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