Encyclopedia of Shinto

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Text (Motoori Norinaga)
First Steps into the Mountains. Written by Motoori Norinaga . One fascicle. Completed 1798, and published in 1799. Norinaga's academic treatise. Norinaga responded to the wishes of his disciples with this work after completing Kojikiden in the fifth month of 1798. He started writing it on the eighth day of the tenth lunar month, and completed it in about a fortnight. While intended as a guide for novices, the work in effect provides an outline of Norinaga's perspectives on scholarship, and identification of scholarly fields, and a research methodology. According to Norinaga, scholarship does not consist of Chinese learning (kangaku) but rather the learning of the Imperial Realm (Kōchō no gaku). With ancient language (kotoba) as the basic source material (tegakari), this method maintains a common bond with the "Study of the Way" (michi no gaku). He then discusses the novice's attitude toward scholarship while at the same time identifying various paths (fields), such as Shintō studies (shingaku), the study of ancient rites and practices (yūsoku-gaku), and waka poetics (kagaku). With regard to these various fields, Norinaga specifically details the most appropriate research methodology, based on his own personal experience. Rather than attempting to impose scholarly norms, the work instead provides an indicator for scholarship by which each student fosters his or her own individuality without succumbing to self-righteousness. Norinaga encourages his followers to approach learning (in this case, kokugaku, or National Learning) from an unbiased perspective in which recognition is given to the diverse nature of values, and by which not only "karagokoro" ("Chinese-influenced" speculative theorizing), but all biases, including those in favor of one's own mentor, are to be avoided. The work reveals Norinaga's pride in the objects of research and the methodologies he pioneered following his own inborn talents, and also provides a real sense of the essence of Kojiki-den, the main product of Norinaga's scholarship. Included in Motoori Norinaga zenshū, vol. 1 (Chikuma Shobō, 1968), Uiyamabumi (Iwanami Bunko series), Motoori Norinaga (Nihon shisō taikei, Iwanami Shoten, 1978), and in English translation in Sey Nishimura, trans., "First Steps into the Mountains: Motoori Norinaga's Uiyamabumi" (Monumenta Nipponica 42:4 (1987), pp. 456-93).
— Mori Mizue

Pronunciation in Japanese/用語音声

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