Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1: 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities
カテゴリー2: Medieval and Early Modern Schools
Ise Shintō
A branch or school of Shinto teachings transmitted by priests of the Watarai clan at the Outer Shrine (Gekū) of the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū). Since most of the promoters were clan members (uchibito) of the Watarai clan, it is also called Watarai Shintō or, since the view of the enshrined deity (saijin) and the interpretation of the relationship of the two shrines was centered on the Outer Shrine, it is sometimes called "Outer Shrine Shinto" (Gekū Shintō). The doctrines of this school can be divided broadly into those of the Kamakura and early Muromachi periods, and those of the latter part of the Tokugawa period. In the earlier period, central attention is paid to the so-called "Shinto Pentateuch" (Shintō gobusho) upon which the Watarai priests primarily relied. These five works include (1) Amaterashimasu Ise nisho Kōtai Jingū gochinza shidaiki, (aka Awarawa-ki, Shinki daini); (2) Ise nisho Kōtaijin gochinza denki (aka Ōta no mikoto kunden, Shinki daiichi); (3) Toyuke Kōtaijin gochinza hongi (aka Asukaki, Jōdai hongi); (4) Zō Ise nisho Daijingū hōki hongi; and (5) Yamatohime no mikoto seiki (aka Daijingū hongi, pt. 2).
Of these five works, the Gochinza shidaiki, Denki, and Gochinza hongi were revered by Ise priests themselves as the "Three Books of the Grand Shrine," and they were held to be "tabooed scriptures" not to be viewed by anyone below sixty years of age. An additional seven works including the Tenku no kotogaki (Recordings of the Voice of Heaven) and Korō kujitsuden (Oral Transmissions from the Ancients) were added to compose what were called the "Twelve books of Shinto," a collection considered so important that it was not to be taken across the river Miyakawa, viewed as the border to the sacred precincts of Ise.
Awarawa no mikoto, Satsukimaro and the other authors to whom these apocryphal works were attributed were claimed to be figures who had lived as early as the Nara period, but most scholars now believe that the works were composed in the mid-Kamakura period by early proponents of Ise Shintō. Reasons for the works' composition are believed to include the instability of the Jingū economy arising from the breakdown of the legal system of Ritsuryō Codes, and the sense of crisis arising from the two attempted Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281. Also, from the perspective of intellectual history, recent research has pointed out the great influence of the spread of Ryōbu Shintō theories on the development of Ise Shintō. As a result of the breakdown of the ancient Ritsuryō Codes, the three "sacred districts" of Ise which had shared a history since the initial founding of the Grand Shrine were subjected from the late Heian period to increasing transformation into the "manors" (shōen) of influential Buddhist temples and other powerful houses, and by the early Kamakura period, over two hundred such estates, called mikuriya (lit., "kitchens") and misono ("farms") had been established within the sacred dictricts. In addition, with regard to the Grand Shrine's most important series of rituals, the "Regular Removal" (shikinen sengū), the rebuilding of Grand Shrines recognized in the Engishiki became no longer possible, and from the reign of Emperor Shirakawa, the rebuilding took on its medieval form of reliance on the system of taxation called yakubukumai (a special kind of taxation on rice levied by the Grand Shrines).
As the threat of foreign invasion grew more critical, the Watarai priests increasingly promulgated the divine power of the "exceptional shrine" (betsugū) Kaze no Miya (Shrine of the Wind) for its role in the sinking of the ships of the attacking Mongol fleet by the so-called "divine wind" or kamikaze, and began promoting the concept of Japan as "land of the kami" (shinkoku shisō). It is believed that the Watarai priests gradually came to formulate a systematic theory of Shinto based upon these elements.
One of the representative intellects of this early period was Watarai Yukitada, who served as superintendant (chōkan) of the Outer Shrine. In addition to his single-fascicle Ise nisho daijingū shinmei hisho (Secret record of the divine names for the two grand shrines of Ise) (1285), he also authored Korō kujitsuden and Shin no mihashiraki (Record of the heart pillar). Likewise, Watarai (Muramatsu) Ieyuki studied the new intellectual trends of Song China and wrote the Shintō kan'yō (1 fascicle) in 1317 and the Ruiju jingi hongen (15 fascicles) in 1320, works that exerted an influence on the thinker Kitabatake Chikafusa. Ieyuki is also known as a loyalist of the Southern Court (during the period of divided North-South courts, ca. 1336-1392), and another important figure in this regard is Higaki (or Watarai) Tsuneyoshi (1263-1339). Higaki offered prayers for the successful prosecution of warriors in 1330, thus incurring the suspicion of Kamakura authorities, and he also compiled the Bunpō bukkaryō, in which he described the proper abstinence procedures for pilgrims from the provinces of Mino and Owari.
The gist of these writers' teachings can be described in the following: (1) the Watarai's distant ancestors are claimed to descend from the kami Amenomurakumo no mikoto to Ame no hiwake no mikoto; in turn, Amenowakako no mikoto (Ōhatanushi no mikoto) who was made regional governor (kunimiyatsuko) had a brother Otsuwakako no mikoto, who served as the high priest at the time the Inner shrine (Naikū) was established in Ise. Namely, these supporters of the Watarai argue that their clan served the Inner Shrine until the introduction of the clerical role of negi (Suppliant Priest) following establishment of the Outer Shrine. On that basis they argue for the equivalance of the two shrines (viewing the Inner Shrine and Outer Shrine as being the same). (2) They go on to dissociate the Outer Shrine's object of worship (saijin) from its conventional status as a deity of foodstuffs, and instead identify it with Ame no minakanushi no kami, the deity existing before the mythical opening of heaven and earth, who represented the primordial "material force" (ki) of water. Further, they extend their argument to Kunitokotachi no mikoto, the deity that received the "power of water" on earth, giving it the secondary name Toyouke Kōdaijin ("Bountiful-Receipt Imperial-Great- Deity"). (3) Based on this concept that Amenominakanushi is a kami associated with the power or virtue of the element of water (suitoku), they view its relationship with the deity of the Inner Shrine Amaterasu ōmikami by setting up the equivalences Water-Fire, Yin-Yang, Sun-Moon. Further, based on the mystical rationale of a "hidden contract between sun and moon" (referring to the mythical agreement between the kami Amaterasu and Susanoo to divide their realms of jurisdiction), they claim that the Sun and Moon were together responsible for illuminating the universe, and on that basis claim that the "two shrines are one light" (nikū ikkō), concluding that the two shrines of Ise were originally established together and without any discrimination between them. For this reason, they claim that the honorific prefix "Heaven-Illuminating" (tenshō or amateru) was applicable to both of the shrines, and that the divinity enshrined at the Outer Shrine should, together with the deity of the Inner Shrine, be worthy of the appellation "Amaterashimasu Toyuke ōkami (heaven-illuminating-plenty-receipt-great-kami)."
The last figure of note in this early period was Yamada Ōji Motomichi, an offering priest (mikashigi no monoimi) at the Outer Shrine betsugū Taka no Miya. In 1481 at the age of eighty, he penned the Motomichi sankeiki (Motomichi's Pilgrimage Diary). However, these early intellectual currents at Ise were about to be overwhelmed by Yoshida Shintō, which was steadily gaining strength around that time.
Entry into the latter period of Ise Shintō was signaled by the new work of the Tokugawa period Deguchi Nobuyoshi, a gon-negi (Provisional Suppliant Priest) at Ise's Outer Shrine. A scion of the Watarai clan, Deguchi failed to be appointed as full negi, but he left numerous important works, from his Yōbukuki (1650) to Jingū hitsuden mondō, Nakatomino haraei mizuhoshō, and Jindaikan kōjutsushō. Characteristics of his thought include the following: (1) in the Daijingū Shintō wakumon he describes Shinto as "the axial Way transmitted from the Heavenly Kami and Earthly Kami," and "the constant way undertaken from one person above to myriads below." In other words, Shinto is seen as the way of the Mean, without extremes, merely the normal everyday way that aims for the plain and simple. (2) Deguchi held the mythical princess Yamatohime no mikoto in greatest reverence, and looked to the Yamatohime no mikoto seiki as his ultimate scriptural guide, arguing strongly that human activities should be guided by the principal virtues of "sincerity" (shōjiki) and "purity" (seijō). In Deguchi Nobuyoshi shinjubussetsu (Deguchi Nobuyoshi's theory of kami, Confucius, and Buddha), he states that "neither kami nor Buddha, Confucius nor Lao Tzu should be discarded, nor should they be commingled." While his view of other religions clearly delineated the theoretical differences between kami, Confucius and Buddha, he nonetheness actively attempted to introduce Confucius, Buddha, Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu into Shinto.
Deguchi established the Toyozaki Bunko (library) at the Outer Shrine, diligently working to collect and collate works on Shinto, thus contributing to the education of numerous representatives of Ise Shintō. The atmosphere at the time was one redolent with the revival of the extinct Jingū system of ancient ages. Kawabe Kiyonaga worked for the revival of the Grand Shrine's numerous sessha and massha (ancillary and branch shrines), Deguchi's son Nobutsune worked for the upkeep of shrine buildings and facilities, and Kawasaki Nobusada and Matsuki Tomohiko pressed for the reinstitution of ancient rituals, all putting their knowledge into concrete action.
A century later, Yoshimi Yoshikazu would make a withering criticism on the intellectual foundations of Ise Shintō through his three critical works Gobusho setsuben (12 volumes, 1737), Bengisho zougen sōron, and Sōbyō shashoku mondō. Hashimura Masanobu responded with his Kaikoku shintokō, leading to further debate. In hopes of an amicable settlement between the Inner and Outer shrines, the proponent of National Learning (kokugaku) Motoori Norinaga penned his Ise nikū sakitake no ben (Two Shrines of Ise: an Essay on Split Bamboo), and after his death in 1801, it was distributed in woodblock print. See also Ise shinkō.

—Nakanishi Masayoshi

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