- Yamazaki, Ansai
- (1618-1682)An eminent scholar of the early Tokugawa period who studied Tendai and Rinzai Zen Buddhism before rejecting Buddhism and turning to shushi Confucianism and then Shinto, in which he was instructed by Watarai, Nobuyoshi. He left the priesthood in 1646 and wrote attacking Buddhism as a heresy. Within his overall political thought he developed the founding ideas of Suiga Shinto, a Shinto theology developed within a neo-Confucian structure preserved through subsequent generations in the Kimon school. He advocated shinju kengaku (the joint study of Shinto and Confucianism) and like other Japanese Confucian political thinkers such as Hayashi, Razan drew numerous and often far-fetched equations between Confucianism and Shinto ideas (e.g. Izanagi and Izanami were equated with yang and yin) in order to establish an inviolable mythological basis for the hierarchical structure of society under the shogunate, stressing reverence for the emperor and devotion to the 'great way' established by Amaterasu and Saruda-hiko no kami. Towards the end of his life he came to view Shinto as the highest Way. As a result of such ideas 'Shinto' came virtually to mean 'Confucianism' in the late Tokugawa period. Many of the assumptions of Meiji period Shinto were derived from this combination of ideas.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.