Raji C. Steineck

Raji C. Steineck, Prof. Dr.

Professor of Japanese Philology

Phone: +41 44 634 40 85

Telfax: +41 44 634 49 21

Room number: ZUB 4-413


Office hours: Thursdays after 14.00 (registration at the secretary first) (since 3th of March)
Actual lectures at the University of Zurich

Current functions

Research interests

  • Japanese philosophy and critical thought
  • Japanese mythologies
  • symbolic forms and doctrines in Dōgen
  • time in medieval culture

Academic Biography

Professor Raji Steineck studied Japanology, philosophy and musicology, obtaining an M.A. in Japanese studies (1993) and a Dr. phil. in philosophy (1999) at Bonn University. In 2006, he received the venia legendi in Japanology from the same university. During research for his doctoral dissertation on fundamental structures of mystical thought and later on as a postdoc, he spent a total of 28 months at Kyoto University, with scholarships from the DAAD, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Humboldt Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Between 2002 and 2006, he was back at Bonn University, working as a research fellow in the group „Bioethical Conflicts in Japan.“ During this period, he published a number of articles on topics such as the debates on brain death and human embryo research in Japan and prepared a monograph on notions of the human body in Japanese bioethical debates (published in 2007). In addition, he taught in the departments of Japanese studies and philosophy, and was invited as a teaching fellow to Adam-Mickiewicz-University in Poznań (Poland) in 2004.

From 2007 to early 2008, he was professor of Japanese Intellectual History at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, before taking office as associate professor of Japanology in Zurich in February 2008. In 2010, he became director of the Institute of East Asian Studies, and upon formation of the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies in 2013, one of its founding directors. In 2012, he served as a visiting professor of ethics at Doshisha University in Kyoto. In the same year, he also organized the triennial meeting of the German Association of Japanese Studies in Zurich and was elected as one of the presidents of the association. He is an active board member of the International Society for the Study of Time (since 2007, president since 2012) and the Swiss Assosiation of Asian Studies (since 2008).

Professor Steineck’s work is informed by a sustained interest in symbolic form and how it relates to intellectual content. His 2014 monograph on Symbolic form and function (in German) contains a critical assessment of Cassirer’s seminal work and prepares the ground for future applications of this theory in the field of Japanese studies and beyond. A monograph on ancient Japanese mythologies is currently in press.

In recent years, Professor Steineck has organized collaborative work in the historiography of modern Japanese philosophy, concepts of authorship in pre-modern East Asian literatures, the rhetorical analysis of Japanese Buddhist texts, and a critical assessment of Marxian theory in postwar Japan. He has also contributed to a transcultural theory of time and is currently preparing a collaborative project on time in medieval Japanese society.

Publications since 2008 (ZORA)

Recent monographs and edited volumes

Kritik der symbolischen Formen II
Kritik der symbolischen Formen I
Kritik der symbolischen Formen II: Zur Konfiguration altjapanischer Mythologien, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 2017 (Philosophie Interkulturell, 4), 345 pp. Kritik der symbolischen Formen I: Symbolische Form und Funktion, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 2014 (Philosophie Interkulturell, 3), 148 pp.
Begriff und Bild der modernen japanischen Philosophie
Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic World, Vol. 1: China and Japan
Begriff und Bild der modernen japanischen Philosophie, co-edited with Elena Louisa Lange, and Paulus Kaufmann, Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, 2014 (Philosophie interkulturell, 2), 348 pp. Concepts of Philosophy in Asia and the Islamic World, Vol. 1: China and Japan, co-edited with Ralph Weber, Elena Louisa Lange, and Robert H. Gassmann, Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2018 (Studien zur interkulturellen Philosophie / Studies in Intercultural Philosophy / Études de philosophie interculturelle, 25), 742 pp.


Phone: +41 44 634 40 85 / Fax: +41 44 634 49 21

研究分野: 日本思想史・哲学

主な研究テーマ:「日本のシンボル形式」、「シンボル形式からみた日本神話」、「古代・中世の時間概念とイメージ」、「道元及び禅の思想的 研究や修辞学的分析」、「近・現代日本における哲学の概念とイメージ」、「現代日本における倫理学の動向(生命倫理、技術倫理等)」、「自然の概念と物象 化の理論」等。

主な著作:『神秘主義思想の基本構造』(2000)、『道元に於ける心身問題』(2003)、『日本生命倫理学に於ける身体の思想』(2007)、 『近・現代日本における哲学の概念とイメージ』(共編、2014)、『シンボル形式の批判第一巻:シンボル形式とシンボル的機能』(2014)。





日本の生命倫理学における身体観 (PPT, 165 KB)