Kada no Azumamaro


Kada no Azumamaro
(1669-1736)
   One of the founders (according to some the main founder) of the kokugaku or fukko shinto school of thought which looked for a return to Japanese origins through sources such as the Kojiki and the Nihongi—and in Azumamaro's case the Kujiki, though he later came to regard it as a forgery—rather than in Buddhist or Confucian texts. He was a lay priest at the Inari shrine in Kyoto who had built up a personal library of ancient Japanese texts. He was strongly influenced by the Japanese Confucian scholar Ogyu, Sorai who had campaigned for a new investigation of the oldest Confucian classics. In 1728 Azumamaro successfully submitted a petition (written in ornate classical Chinese) to the shogun Tokugawa, Yoshimune in which he praised the spread of Confucian and Buddhist learning during the Tokugawa peace but lamented the long­standing neglect of the scholarly, especially textual, study of Japanese sources. He requested that a school of 'national learning' and a lending library of rare texts should be established in Kyoto, parallel to the Confucian fukko (return to antiquity') enterprise of the Sung dynasty in China. From a kokugaku 'lineage' point of view he is seen as one of the four great inspirational scholars of kokugaku along with Kamo no Mabuchi, Motoori Norinaga and Hirata Atsutane.

A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. .

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