Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1: 1. General Introduction
カテゴリー2: History of Shrines and Shinto
3. Shinto in the Early Modern Period (1)
From Buddhistic Shintō to Confucian Shintō
One of the most conspicuous features of early modern Shintō is the shift from the prominence of Ryōbu Shintō, Sannō Shintō, and other related philosophies based on the combination of buddhas and kami (see shinbutsu shūgō and bukka Shintō ), to the emergence of "Confucian Shintō," namely, a philosophy based on the claimed unity of Confucianism and Shintō (see juka Shintō ). Of course, Confucian interpretations of Shintō had already been seen in medieval Ise Shintō and Yoshida Shintō, but they did not proclaim the unity of Shintō with Confucianism. The earlier theories merely used Confucianism as an expedient in establishing a position that reversed the Buddhistic honji suijaku theory (namely, the position that kami were fundamental and buddhas were provisional). While they gave Shintō priority, they did not aggressively reject Buddhism. The new Confucian version of Shintō, however, was a Confucian-based Shintō founded on a clear rejection of Buddhism; it can be thought of as an intellectual discipline that interpreted Shintō from the position of the Neo-Confucianism that formed the major philosophical current of early modern feudal society.
Among the prominent Confucian Shintōists of the period were Neo-Confucianists Fujiwara Seika, Hayashi Razan, and Yamazaki Ansai. Together with National Learning (Kokugaku), this Confucian Shintō occupied a central position in early modern Shintō thought. Ise Shintō and Yoshida Shintō also underwent new developments owing to the work of figures like Watarai Nobuyoshi and Yoshikawa Koretari, and exerted a strong influence on the Suika Shintō of prominent Confucian Shintōist Yamazaki Ansai.

The Shintō Philosophies of Hayashi Razan and Yoshikawa Koretari
The earliest hint of Confucian Shintō can be seen in the concept of Confucian-Shintō unity ("Shintō and Confucianism are identical in spirit though differing in name") often attributed to the Sendai motogusa of Fujiwara Seika, the figure usually seen as the creator of Edo period Neo-Confucianism (Confucianism of the Zhu Xi school). Fujiwara's disciple Hayashi Razan explained this idea in greater detail, equating Shintō with "the kingly way" (ōdō). Razan gave this "kingly way Shintō" the name Ritō shinchi Shintō. He claimed it was the ultimate essence of Shintō, while any other kind of Shintō was no more than liturgies or the performance of rites. In Shintō denju (Transmission of Shintō), he set his interpretation of "kingly way Shintō" apart from other theories, emphasizing that all other interpretations to be illegitimate. It is well known that Razan's Shintō thought was greatly influenced by the concept of the "kingly way" (wangdao) in the Confucianism that was his specialty, and also the Neo-Confucian thought of the Song period with its concepts of "principle," "material force," and "original nature." But it is also clear from Razan's vast knowledge of Yoshida Shintō that this late-medieval school of thought also played an important role in the formation and development of his own Shintō ideas.
The influence of Yoshida Shintō was not limited to Razan; it also had a considerable impact on the Confucian-Shintō thought of Yoshikawa Koretari. Koretari studied with Hagiwara Kaneyori, the most powerful figure in Yoshida Shintō during the early Edo period, and he became the systematizer of and successor to its esoteric teachings. Not only did Koretari propagate and further develop Yoshida Shintō, like Razan he also saw Shintō as important for governing the nation and—in his Gyokuden hiketsu—emphasized the virtues of the imperial regalia (sanshu no jingi). Using the material phases "earth" and "metal" from the five-phases theory, in his Dokonri hiketsu he also declared that "earth is the mother of all things, and metal is the father" and expounded a popularized form of human ethics. Koretari wrote that earth and metal are the origin of propriety (tsutsushimi), and that propriety itself is "the way of heaven and earth" and the foundation of ethics. Koretari's interpretation of Shintō is known as rigaku Shintō ("Shintō of the fundamental principle"; see Yoshikawa Shintō), and it later exerted a strong influence on Yamazaki Ansai. Koretari also lectured to the powerful daimyō Tokugawa Yorinobu of Kishū domain and Hoshina Masayuki of Aizu domain, and later performed a Shintō funeral for and bestowed a Shintō religious title (reishagō) on Hoshina. Through actions such as these undertaken as heir to the lineage of Yoshida Shintō, Koretari contributed greatly to the tradition's expansion and development during the early modern period.

The Shintō Philosophies of Watarai Nobuyoshi and Yamazaki Ansai
Thus, with the appearance of Yoshikawa Koretari, Yoshida Shintō shed its old skin to assume its early modern form. Meanwhile, the Confucian-Shintō synthesis received what was tantamount to its first dose of criticism from Ise Shintō with the appearance of Watarai Nobuyoshi. Nobuyoshi stressed in Yōbukuki that even if the teachings of Confucianism and Shintō were the same, the differences between China and Japan should be kept in mind when propounding a philosophy of the identity of the two faiths. His new interpretation of Ise Shintō based on the argument that Japan's original Shintō thought was fundamental and that Confucianism was used merely as an explanatory tool had a strong influence on Yamazaki Ansai, and represented a watershed in the formation and development of early modern Shintō.
We have seen above how Hayashi Razan, Yoshikawa Koretari, and Watarai Nobuyoshi rejected the combinatory Shintō-Buddhist theories then prevalent, and gave shape to early modern Shintō from the perspective of the union of Shintō and Confucianism. However, it was Yamazaki Ansai who succeeded in synthesizing these Shintō theories, weaving Shintō into one of the great intellectual and academic disciplines of the early modern period. Ansai studied Yoshida Shintō from Yoshikawa Koretari and took the epistolary name of Suika Reisha based on characters taken from the Yamato hime no mikoto seiki of the Shintō gobusho (five texts of Ise Shintō), thus displaying the great influence of Yoshida Shintō and Ise Shintō on his thought. The Nakatomi no harae and the Nihon shoki's "Divine Age" chapter provided the text-based intellectual and theoretical foundations for his thought; in particular, those passages in the "Divine Age" chapter involving the material phases "earth and metal" provided the conceptual basis for his claim that "The Shintō of Japan originates in earth and metal."
The main elements of Ansai's Suika Shintō were (1) the idea that human beings possess an element of the divine spirit, a Shintō application of the Neo-Confucian concept of the "unity of Heaven and man"; (2) Yoshikawa Koretari's emphasis on earth, metal, and the concept of propriety; and (3) his defense of the idea of "the way of ruler and subject" (kunshin no michi), as symbolized by Ise Shintō's secret traditions about the transmission of the three imperial regalia (Sanshu no jingi gokuhiden) and by the Himorogi iwasaka gokuhi no den considered important by both Yoshida Shintō and Yoshikawa Shintō. This third element in particular had a great influence on the formation of the imperial loyalist (sonnō) thought of the period (a movement seeking to institute direct imperial rule)—so much so, in fact, that Suika Shintō is often virtually equated with loyalist thought. The lineage of Yamazaki Ansai's Suika Shintō produced many later Shintōists, including Ōgimachi Kinmichi, Tamaki Masahide, Yoshimi Yoshikazu, Wakabayashi Kyōsai, Atobe Yoshiakira, Tomobe Yasutaka, Matsuoka Yūen, Takenouchi Shikibu, and Tanigawa Kotosuga. Yamazaki's Shintō theories also had a strong influence on Tsuchimikado Shintō, which represented a merging of Shintō with Japanese Yin-Yang divination (Onmyōdō), and on the Mito School (see Mitogaku) which formed one of the great intellectual bases of the loyalist movement late in the period.

The Shintō Thought of Motoori Norinaga and Hirata Atsutane
Thus, Confucian Shintō came to occupy the mainstream of early modern Shintō, as exemplified by the Suika Shintō that appeared together with the rise of Confucian studies. In the face of this trend, however, the appearance of National Learning led to the emergence of new Shintō currents from around the middle of the Edo period that gradually gained strength. National Learning, which sought out Japanese writings for its main object of learning and scholarship, initially began with the analysis of waka poetry. The classical scholarship of Motoori Norinaga, a disciple of Kamo no Mabuchi, especially in his research on the Kojiki, led him to believe that Japan's original Shintō thought was represented by neither combinatory kami-buddha theories (shinbutsu shūgō; see Shintō and Buddhism) nor Confucian Shintō. This led him to develop a National Learning-based understanding of Shintō that relied neither on Buddhism nor Confucianism, which as kokugaku Shintō eventually came to occupy a position rivaling that of Confucian Shintō.
KokugakuShintō thought developed from Motoori Norinaga's study of classical texts, starting with the Kojiki. Norinaga insisted that Shintō was different from not only both Buddhism and Confucianism, but also from the Taoist thought of Laozi and Zhuangzi with which his teacher Mabuchi generally identified it. In Naobi no mitama, Norinaga identified Shintō with the processes of the creation and development of all things begun by the creator kami Takamimusubi, Izanami and Izanagi, and followed by Amaterasu. He wrote further that all events are the work of the kami, that their actions may be good or evil, and that it is impossible for humanity to surmise, guess, or understand those divine acts. He continued that Shintō differs from Buddhism and Confucianism in that it is based not on the transmission of teachings but rather on the idea that humanity can lead a properly human life through the spirit of birth and becoming (musuhi). As a result, Norinaga completely denied human understanding of the kami, asserting that if only people would reject the "foreign [lit. Chinese] mind" (karagokoro) and read the Japanese classics with a pure heart, they would be able to grasp Shintō naturally.
This philosophy of what might be called the ineffability of Shintō denied all attempts to comprehend it using Confucian, Buddhist, or other foreign religious and philosophical approaches. On the other hand, since Norinaga gave absolute validity to the deeds of the kami related the Kojiki and rejected any attempt to use human knowledge, as a philosophy or religion his Shintō comes across as extremely sparse despite his emphasis on the concept of Musuhi no kami. His empahsis on the Kojiki and the resulting thinnness of his ideas and conceptualization of the afterlife led directly to a shallowness of Shintō as a religion. Thoroughly removing Confucian and Buddhist elements from Shintō suggested a new viewpoint for understanding the tradition, but it was left to Hirata Atsutane to use National Learning once again to add a new religiosity to Norinaga's rather simple framework.
While absorbing many of Norinaga's ideas, including his emphasis on the Japanese spirit and Japanese exceptionalism, Hirata also constructed his own Shintō worldview (sekaikan), cosmology (uchūkan), and views of life after death. He proposed the concept that the origin of all production and growth was Amenominakanushi and the other three kami of creation (zōkasanshin), and he denied Motoori's idea that people go to the underworld land of Yomi after death. Instead, Hirata contributed to the religious nature of Shintō by asserting that after death humans go to the "hidden world" of kakuriyo, where they are judged by the presiding kami Ōkuninushi. Hirata's Shintō thought greatly influenced the rise of Shintō at the end of the Edo period and the beginning of the Meiji period, and he attracted many disciples around the country, both before and after his death. These disciples took part in movements to revive Shintō funerals and to promote imperial loyalism, and during the Meiji Restoration their influence was felt not only through the power of their philosophy but also through concrete political activity.
As described above, the National Learning of Motoori Norinaga and Hirata Atsutane occupied a major position in the history of Edo-period Shintō philosophy alongside Confucian Shintō. In addition to these movements, Ishida Baigan's shingaku, popular Shintō as propounded by Masuho Zanko, the hōtoku thought of Ninomiya Sontoku, and the popular ethics based on the concept of the "the unity of the three creeds" of Shintō, Confucianism, and Buddhism can also broadly be called forms of Shintō thought. Finally, mention must also be made of Kamo Norikiyo and his Uden Shintō, which can be considered the beginnings of sectarian Shintō thought (see Shintō-Derived Religious Groups), along with more practice-oriented movements such as the popular confraternities devoted to Mount Fuji (Fuji-; see ).
— Sakamoto Koremaru

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