Encyclopedia of Shinto
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An Ise scholar from the early Edo period. Born in Yamada, the town at the gate of the Outer Shrine (Gekū) of the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū), Nakanishi served there as a kujō ōuchindo (Senior Ritual Assistant). His childhood name was Nobuyoshi, using different characters, which he later changed, and his common name was Yasuemon. When the shrine library Toyomiyazaki Bunko was founded in Yamada in 1648 by Deguchi Nobuyoshi (1615-90), Nakanishi became Deguchi's student. The main body of his scholarly work consists of commentaries on the so-called Five Books of Shinto (Shintō gobusho), namely, Gochinza hongi shō (Commentary on Gochinza hongi, five fascicles), Gochinza denki shō (Commentary on Gochinza denki, five fascicles), Gochinza shidaiki shō (Commentary on Gochinza shidaiki, two fascicles), and Yamato-hime no mikoto seiki shō (Commentary on Yamato-hime no mikoto seiki, two fascicles). Nobuyoshi's motto can be summed up in a line from his Nisshosa harae shō (Commentary on the Daily Practice of Purification): "Borrow the words from other teachings to illuminate the meaning of our own."
In 1666, at the request of the shrine's Senior Chief Priest (daigūji; see gūji) Kawabe Kiyonaga (1601-88), Nakanishi compiled a document on the architectural layout of the Grand Shrines (Daijingū zōsei wakumon, Questions on the Construction of the Grand Shrines). He submitted the document to Kawabe, and based on this work the uchi-tamagaki (the second inner fence around the main shrine hall) was rebuilt according to the ancient style during the shrine's regular removal (shikinen sengū) of 1669. In 1698 Nakanishi visited the monk and kokugaku scholar Keichū (1640-1701); in his later Yamato-hime no mikoto seiki Keichū tōmon sho, Nakanishi noted Keichū's answers to his questions regarding Yamato-hime no mikoto seiki, one of the Five Books of Shinto that describes the origin of the Grand Shrines. He died soon after, on the 17th day of the 1st month, 1699, at the age of 69.