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Picture: 'Minakata Mandala' (from the letter to Toki Horyu on 18 July 1903) [© Tanabe City]
The picture above is a figure from Kumagusu's letter to Toki Horyu on 18 July 1903.
From January 1902 to October 1904, Kumagusu was staying in 'Osaka ya' Inn (Ichinono in former Nachi village - now Nachi-Katsuura -, Wakayama), spending his days for collecting botanical specimens, reading books, or writing treatises. During this 'Mt Nachi period', he wrote frequently to Toki, a prominent priest of the Mantra Buddhism in Meiji Japan, to dusscuss what he called 'my own mandala', that is to say his way of conception of the world through interconnecting the Western sciences and Mahayana Buddhism. This drawing is one of such figurative attempts of representing his world conception, probably best known, for the late Dr Nakamura Hajime referred to it as 'Minakata Mandala', and Dr Tsurumi Kazuko argued it as a radical model of his thought.
This image has been known so far only by photocopy reproductions of an insufficient quality. As a part of our primary investigation and cataloguing of Kumagusu archives, we are currently taking digital pictures of the materials in Minakata residence, and the image presented here is one of those pictures, taken directly from the original letter with digital camera, which shows more vividly the brush-stroke and suggests better the true image of the dynamic world-view conceived by the philosopher. (Matsui Ryugo)
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