Bret W. Davis has updated the Kyoto School
entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Tanabe studied with Heidegger in the early 1920s. (In fact, upon returning to Japan in 1924, Tanabe was the first scholar in the world to write an article on Heidegger's thought.) When he later wrote the following, Tanabe no doubt had Heidegger's 1929 “What is Metaphysics?” lecture in mind: “All science needs to take some entity or other as its object of study. The point of contact is always in being, not in nothing. The discipline that has to do with nothingness is philosophy”.
Nishitani, on the other hand, began his study of Western thought by focusing on Bergson, Schelling, Nietzsche and the German Mystics. Between 1937 and 1939, Nishitani studied with Heidegger, who was at the time beginning to grapple with the question of nihilism, and whose phenomenology had developed into a thinking of the “clearing of being” or what he would later characterize as a “topology of being”. Influenced no doubt in part by his contact with Heidegger (and perhaps in turn influencing Heidegger, who frequently invited him to his house to learn about Zen), Nishitani developed, in his own highly original manner, existential and phenomenological aspects of Nishida's topology of absolute nothingness.