The book: Minakata sees the idea of a universality, lays the foundation for ecological thinking far beyond a simple “nature protection for nature” but a true “social ecology” and ” spiritual. ” His quest for a synthesis of Western and Eastern thought is part of a period of strong political, social, and industrial transformation marking the Meiji era. His field of study, which ranges from the behavior of myxomycetes to the study of comparative folklore between nations. Behind Minakata’s eccentric personality lies an encyclopaedist whose reflections are far ahead of his time.
In Japan, ecology and the sacred are never far away. Still unknown in the West, Minakata Kumagusu (1867-1941) was born in the heart of the sacred forests of Kumano, the Mecca of Japanese spirituality. At nineteen, he left his country engaged in the Meiji era and followed a path of lonely wanderings between East and West. His activities as a botanist inspired him with an original vision of ecology, a science then nascent, to which he lent sacred, social and political dimensions. A few loyal friendships, formed with Sun-Yat Sen, founder of modern China, or Ueshiba Morihei, creator of Aikidô, give a particular resonance to his work. Surprisingly innovative, his thought remains at the heart of the concerns of our contemporaries.
Satoshi Ohara is a professor at Osaka University. Specialist in hybrid nanomaterials and their applications in electronics and biology, he is passionate about the personality and the work of Kumagusu, like him from Wakayama and sensitive to environmental issues. Jean-Christophe Valmalette is a professor at the University of Toulon. A physicist and nanoscientist, he works on their interface with biology, particularly with bio-inspired mechanisms for capturing light in insects and plankton. He is also interested in the impact of new technologies on the notions of boundaries and boundaries in contemporary societies. The two authors continue to meet very frequently in France and Japan for an unlikely but fruitful exchange, a sign of our time.