The Big Four of the Kyoto School (京都学派四天王)

The Big Four of the Kyoto school refers to the following four scholars who belonged to the Kyoto School: Masaaki KOSAKA, Keiji NISHITANI, Iwao KOYAMA and Shigetaka SUZUKI. After World War II, they were purged from Kyoto University on charges of having assisted the war effort (Masaaki KOSAKA and Keiji NISHITANI were later reinstated at Kyoto University).

During the war, they were participants in the symposiums on 'The World Historic Position and Japan' ('The World Historic Position and Japan' in the January 1942 issue, 'The Ethics and Historical Position of the East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere' in the April 1942 issue and 'The Philosophy of Total War' in the January 1943 issue), which appeared three times in "Chuo koron" magazine from 1942 to the following year and in these they had tried to determine what the ideological standing of the Greater East Asia War was from the point of view of the 'philosophy of world history.'

They were regular participants of closed-door meetings during the Greater East Asia War that were periodically held between the Kyoto School and the Imperial Japanese Navy, topics being about the overthrow of the Tojo cabinet and the restoration of the course of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Although the 'philosophy of world history' was criticized as being the ideology of the kokutai (national polity) by the Kodo-ha ('Imperial Way' faction) of the Imperial Japanese Army, there is another view that it was heavily based on Shumei OKAWA's "Colonization in Early-modern European History."