Doi Torakazu (土井虎賀寿)

Torakazu DOI (February 19, 1902 - March 10, 1971) was a philosopher and literatus. He was from Kagawa Prefecture.


He was born into a doctor's family in the Kita-gun (Kita County) of Kagawa Prefecture. His original family name was Kubo. He studied in the second group of the Science Department (in medicine) at the Daisan Koto Gakko (the "Third Senior High School" under the old system, often abbreviated to "Sanko") before moving on to the Department of Science (in Physics) at Kyoto Imperial University, but then re-enrolled in the Department of Philosophy, graduating in 1926. After graduating he temporarily moved back in to his parents' home, whereupon he took up a teaching job at a local girls' school and also married. But his wife died after just two years, so he returned to Kyoto, entering graduate school there. In 1929 he became an instructor at the Third High School. Then in 1941, be became both a Third High School Professor and an instructor at Kyoto Imperial University. In 1948 he resigned from the Third High School and from Kyoto Imperial University and entered Tokyo University's graduate school in the Department of French Literature, studying there for two years. In 1953, he became a professor at Sagami Women's University and an instructor at Gakushuin University. Teiyu AMANO, the first president of Dokkyo University, had invited him to take up a position there, and in 1964 he accepted, entering the Department of Foreign Languages as the professor in charge of Philosophy and Foreign Literature.

Nicknamed "Doitora" by his students, the popular Doi was known as a "maverick" and "eccentric thinker" of the Kyoto School (of philosophical thought). While in Kyoto, he had studied under Kitaro NISHIDA, Hajime TANABE, and Teiyu AMANO. After the war, aiming to shift from philosophy to literature, he quit his job and entered the graduate school of the University of Tokyo in order to study under Yutaka TATSUNO, but Tatsuno retired that very year. In any event, his unconventional career decisions earned him acclaim in the mass media and led to something of a "Mr. Doi boom." He published a steady stream of articles in "Sekai Bungaku" (World Literature) and other journals, and also published his translations of Friedrich NIETZSCHE's books. In 1954, Kaiun KAMITSUKASA, who at that time was the chief official of Todai-ji Temple, commissioned Torakazu to translate the Avatamska Sutra (known in Japan as the 'Kegon-kyo Sutra') into German; the arduous task took him ten years to complete. Doi's philosophical stance began with Formal Logic. Nonetheless, it will come as no surprise to discover that the basic undercurrent running throughout all of his work is the idea of a "philosophy of emptiness" as expressed in his "Higekisei e no ishi" (The Will towards Tragedy), Goethe's "Piety," and the Kegon notion of "jiji muge" (the idea that everything in existence is interconnected and unobstructed).

From his first day at the Third High School through to the very end of his career at Dokkyo University, Doi's teaching style, through his unique presence and worldview, is said to have truly inspired his students and drew them in. His unconventional character an eccentricities were described in "Warera ga fukyo no shi" (Our Wacky Teacher), by Koji AOYAMA, one of Doi's former students at the Third High School; in it, Doi was described under the pseudonym "Kazuma TOKI," but all other proper names used, except for the names of his family members, were real names. Yuriko SUZUKI (who later married Taijun TAKEDA to become Yuriko TAKEDA) also appears as a character in Aoyama's book. Torahiko TAMIYA, Hiroshi NOMA, Shizuo TAKENOUCHI and Norio AWAZU were also among Doi's students at the Third High School.
In 1950, Doi's translation of "Also sprach Zarathustra" was lambasted in the magazine "Tenbo" (Foresight) by Tomio TEZUKA, a scholar of German literature and a professor at the University of Tokyo, writing under the pen name 'Tomoo AOKI.'
The philosopher Taijun TAKEDA describes in his "Ikei no mono," which was published in the magazine "Hikarigoke," was modeled after Doi.

Torakazu did not actually change his surname to Doi until his marriage to Sugino DOI, a student at Tohoku University who translated Anna SEWELL's "Black Beauty: the Autobiography of a Horse" under a phoneticized version of her own name, Sugino DOI. Until Doi's death, his wife Sugino and their eldest daughter Saho DOI continued to support him in his philosophical pursuits.