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Toshihiko Izutsu (井筒俊彦; 4 May 1914 – 1 July 1993) was a university professor and author of many books on Islam and other religions. He taught at the Institute of Cultural and Linguistic studies at Keio University in Tokyo, the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy in Tehran, and McGill University in Montreal.

Background

He was born in a family of a wealthy business owner in Japan. From an early age, he was familiar with Zen meditation and koan, since his father was also a calligrapher and a practising lay Zen buddhist.

He entered the faculty of economics, Keio University, but transferred to the department of English literature, wishing to be instructed by Professor Junzaburō Nishiwaki. He became a research assistant in 1937, following his graduation with B.A.

Islamic study

In 1958, he completed the first direct translation of the Qur'an from Arabic to Japanese. His translation is still renowned for its linguistic accuracy and widely used for scholarly works. He was extremely talented in learning foreign languages, and finished reading Qur'an a month after beginning to learn Arabic.

Bibliography

some dates are republishings
  • Ethico-Religious Concepts in the Quran (1966 republished 2002) ISBN 0-7735-2427-4
  • Concept of Belief in Islamic Theology (1980) ISBN 0-8369-9261-X
  • God and Man in the Koran (1980) ISBN 0-8369-9262-8
  • Sufism and Taoism: A Comparative Study of Key Philosophical Concepts (1984) ISBN 0-520-05264-1
  • Creation and the Timeless Order of Things: Essays in Islamic Mystical Philosophy (1994) ISBN 1-883991-04-8
  • Toward a Philosophy of Zen Buddhism (2001) ISBN 1-57062-698-7
  • Language and Magic. Studies in the Magical Function of Speech (1956) Keio Institute of Philological Studies
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