Kenichi Mishima, born in 1942, studied comparative cultural studies and German language and literature at the University of Tokyo from 1961 to 1968. Following this, he held an assistant professorship at the Chiba University until 1975. He was a DAAD Fellow at the University of Tübingen from 1970 to 1972, and a Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn from 1978 to 1980. Mishima taught as an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo (Komaba) from 1975 to 1987 and as a full professor at the Gakushuin University in Tokyo starting in 1987 until he received a professorship at the Osaka University in 1991. At Osaka, he held a chair for social philosophy and comparative civilisations until 2004. From 1994 to 1995, he was a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. Since 2004, Kenichi Mishima has been teaching social philosophy and contemporary philosophy at the Tokyo Keizai University. In February he received an honorary doctorate from the FU Berlin. His other distinctions include the 1986 Philipp Franz von Siebold Prize, awarded by the German President, as well as the 2001 Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize, awarded by the German Research Foundation.
In his philosophical career, Mishima has dealt with critical theory and modern philosophy — in particular the reception of Friedrich Nietzsche und Walter Benjamin—and also with the theory and empiricism of multiple modernities, and with intellectual discourses in Germany. Mishima has published Walter Benjamin – Collection, Destruction, Salvation (1999), Light and Shadows of Nietzsche’s Philosophy (1997), Intellectual Discourses in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945 (1991), and Nietzsche (1987), and he has also translated numerous works by Nietzsche, Gadamer, Adorno, Marx, and Habermas, among others.