International Journal of Sport and Health Science
Online ISSN : 1880-4012
Print ISSN : 1348-1509
ISSN-L : 1348-1509
The Potentiality of Empathy with Others in Competitive Sport: A Suggestion from Nishida's ‘Pure Experience’ and ‘I’ and ‘Thou’
Koyo Fukasawa
Author information

2014 Volume 12 Pages 47-52


This paper inquires into the possibility to connect athletes from the sense of empathy that athletes could have for each other. For this purpose, the potentiality of empathy has been interpreted from the notion of ‘pure experience’ which Kitaro Nishida (1870-1945) developed. Empathy is considered as a bodily and interactive communication between the self and the other, and means we are to assume an event has occurred on the other (object) as well as on the self (subject). But this framework to understand empathy formally as the relation between subject and object seems to have some methodological limitations. Nishida attempts to overcome this theoretical difficulty in western thought by introducing ‘pure experience’ into the issue of identifying subject with object. According to Nishida, while a person remains within his/her individual experience, he/she would be still a subject in relation to an object, i.e. he/she cannot transcend the limitation of western dualism. But we can recognize the potentiality of perceiving the other at the physical level, i.e. empathy, according to Nishida's notion of ‘pure experience’ as transcendental conception. In this paper individual athletics and interpersonal athletics have been set as examples. For example, a Judoka is required to react to the opponent's attack as swiftly as possible. In that moment he/she could perceive the opponent's state at the corporeal level regardless of his/her (moral) consciousness. We could find the possibility of understanding others and solidarity in sport by inquiring about the role empathy plays in such situations.

Content from these authors
© 2014 Japan Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences
Previous article Next article