國學院大學
國學院大學デジタルミュージアム

Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1 1. General Introduction
カテゴリー2 Religious and Intellectual Influences on Shinto
Title
Text Early Interaction between Kami Cults and Confucianism
It is very difficult to clearly determine the earliest contacts between Shintō and Confucianism, but a reference can already be found in Nihon shoki's chronicle of Emperor Kōtoku's reign (r. 645-654) in which the emperor is said to "think fondly of Confucianism." An order is also found from the seventh year of the chronicle for Empress Jitō's reign (r. 690-697) to "promote Confucianism," showing clearly that the influence of Confucianism started early. Its concrete influence on thought, however, can be seen in works written by nobles and kami priests (shinkan) from medieval times. This is especially true of such commentaries on Nihon shoki's "Divine Age chapter (jindaikan)" as Ichijō Kaneyoshi's Nihon shoki sanso, and Yoshida Kanetomo's Nihon shoki Jindaikanshō, both of which adopt Confucian ethics and Chinese Yijing creation theory. In addition to those works, Inbe Masamichi's Jindaikan kuketsu and Kiyohara Nobutaka's Nihon shoki jindaikanshō also actively drew upon Song schools of "Neo-Confucianism" and the teachings of Zhu Xi (Jp. Shushi) in particular. Within the Shintō priesthood, Watarai Ieyuki of the Outer Shrine at Ise (Ise Jingū) was very interested in the teachings of Zhu Xi. In his main work Ruijū jingi hongen (1320) Watarai quoted part of Zhou Lianxi's Taiji tushuo (J: Taikyoku zusetsu) and other commentaries on the Yijing by Song Neo-Confucian scholars in establishing his own unique view of Shintō. Watarai, however, was quoting from secondary sources that drew upon Chinese originals, with the result that his usages were not always faithful to the primary texts themselves. Exposed to such medieval Ise Shintō teaching, Kitabatake Chikafusa took it upon himself to study Song Neo-Confucian teachings very carefully, and his efforts are reflected in his works Jinnō shōtōki, Gengenshū, and Tōkahiden. This kind of medieval theorizing regarding the relationship between Shintō and Confucianism adhered to the position that Shintō, Confucianism and Buddhism were three versions of the same ultimate truth (shinjubutsu sankyō-itchi), but the specific nature of the relationship between Shintō and Confucianism was debated fully only from the early modern period onwards. Especially at the beginning of Edo period, Confucian scholars actively promoted the theory that Shintō and Confucianism were one (Shinju itchi), with the result that the Shintō theories of this period are generally known as Confucian Shintō (Juka Shintō).

The Unity of Shintō and Confucianism
Discussions of "Confucian Shintō" have conventionally begun from Fujiwara Seika's (1561-1619) Kana shōri. Today, however, it is generally accepted that Kana shōri is most likely a secondary source based on the Shingaku gorinsho, a textbook for writing kana. Further problematizing the traditional importance placed on Kana shōri is the appearance of various theories attributing the work instead to Hayashi Razan, Kumazawa Banzan, or Bonshun, making it difficult to attribute authorship firmly to any single individual. However, since Fujiwara Seika was both adopted into the Yoshida family, and is said to have used Song Neo-Confucian terminology in the attempt to divide the full text of the Nihon shoki's "Divine Age chapter" into discrete sections, the issue of his position in Shintō history is likely to remain an important topic of debate. It is more appropriate, rather, to single out Fujiwara's disciple Hayashi Razan as the pioneer of Confucian Shintō. Active in the early Edo period, Hayashi authored many works including the Honchō jinjakō, Shintō denjushō, and Shintō hidden setchū zokkai. In these works he advocated a form of Shintō called Ritō Shinchi Shintō, a Shintō doctrine with strong political bent. He criticized the medieval combinatory religion of accommodating kami and buddhas (see shinbutsu shūgō), attempting instead to sweep away all traces of Buddhism and create a new Shintō doctrine infused with Confucian thought. Ritō Shinchi Shintō, however, was more a product of Hayashi's personal intellectual interests and was little known outside the Hayashi family and his circle of close acquaintances. In his youth, Hayashi was exposed to the teachings of Kyoto's Gozan ("Five Mountain") Zen as well as the Kiyohara family's version of Confucianism, and he was also a friend of Bonshun of the Yoshida family. Well versed in medieval Shintō, Confucianism and Buddhism, Hayashi's version of Shintō can be understood as a comprehensive compilation of medieval Shintō centered on Yoshida Shintō.
     Yamazaki Ansai, on the other hand, conducted more orthodox research on medieval Shintō, establishing his own version of Shintō called Suika Shintō. In arriving at his own original interpretations, Yamazaki drew upon traditions of Shintō that had existed since medieval times, including both Ise Shintō and Yoshida Shintō, and also including elements of Inbe Shintō. This kind of inclination towards Shintō in his later years, however, caused confusion and conflict among Yamazaki's disciples. Following his death, his disciples split into three factions: the senjinha, which favored the Shintō elements of Yamazaki's teachings and included people such as Ōgimachi Kinmichi, Izumoji Nobunao and Kamo Sukeyuki; the senjuha, which took the Confucian elements to be the essence of Yamazaki's teachings and included Satō Naokata and Miyake Shōsai; and the kenshūha, which saw Yamazaki's combination of Shintō and Confucianism as the most important element of his teaching and included Asami Keisai and Wakabayashi Kyōsai.
     Even before Yamazaki Ansai, Nakae Tōju had formed his own original view of Shintō in the first half of the seventeenth century. While Nakae was not so well versed in Japanese classical studies (wagaku) as Hayashi and Yamazaki, he advocated his unique Taikyo (Ch. taixu) Shintō ("Shintō of the great void") based on the knowledge of Daoism and Ming Confucianism he had accumulated by the time he reached mature years. He considered Taikyo Shintō a universal principle, with Confucianism as a specific manifestation of that principle that had emerged within the Chinese environment. As Nakae considered both Shintō and Confucianism to be but particular manifestations of this universal principle, he saw Taikyo Shintō itself as the most vital object of inquiry. His disciple Kumazawa Banzan further developed Nakae's Shintō theories in works such as Miwa monogatari, Shintō taigi, and Sanja takusenkai. Kumazawa's work discussed the relationship between Shintō as universal principle and the particularistic Shintō teachings that existed since the advent of Amaterasu ōmikami, thus promoting the unity of Shintō and Confucianism while attacking Buddhism.
     Active about the same time as Yamazaki Ansai, Yamaga Sokō also left a noteworthy theory in the history of Confucian Shintō studies. A disciple of Hayashi Razan, Yamaga later studied Inbe Shintō and Ryōbu Shintō and also was thoroughly acquainted with historical writings. Yamaga expounded a Japanocentric theory that held Japan to be the true "central land" (nakatsukuni) or "middle kingdom" (chūchō), terms normally applied to China. The Chūchō jijitsu (Facts of the Middle Kingdom) pithly transmits Yamaga's view of Shintō. Kaibara Ekiken also arrived at a theory of the "unity of Shintō and Confucianism" based on his research into shrine founding legends (jinja engi) and contacts with men like Yoshikawa Koretari and Matsushita Kenrin. He also wrote works on the subject such as the Jingikun and the Shinju heikō aimotoraru no ron.
     This current of theories proclaiming the unity of Shintō and Confucianism also had a significant impact on Shrine priests (shinkan) of the day. By the middle of the Edo period, when Shintō theories such as those of Yoshikawa Koretari of the Yoshida school and Deguchi Nobuyoshi of the Ise school had taken on a strong Neo-Confucian tinge, Kaneo, the head of the Yoshida family, welcomed Matsuoka Yūen of Suika Shintō as the head of the Yoshida family school in an attempt to restore the teachings of Yoshida Shintō. In the bakumatsu period, Aizawa Seishisai of the Mito school attempted to seize public sentiment through the use of Confucian views on life and death and a theory of the union of loyalty and filial piety as he expounded an emperor-centered theory of the state. Naturally, some scholars of National Learning (kokugaku) criticized this theory of the unity of Shintō and Confucianism. In the modern period, a trend toward accommodation with Confucianism can be seen especially among sectarian Shintō groups (kyōha Shintō). The paradigmatic examples of this are Shintō Shūseiha founded by Nitta Kuniteru and Shintō Taiseikyō founded by Hirayama Seisai. The influence of Confucianism is also apparent in the ethical virtues espoused by modern Shrine Shintō.
— Yazaki Hiroyuki