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Home » 9. Texts and Sources » Other Basic Texts
Isenigūsakitakenoben
(Motoori Norinaga)
A "Split Bamboo" Discourse on the Two Shrines of Ise. A historical investigation into the kami worshipped (saijin) at the two Ise Shrines, the Inner and the Outer Shrines. Written by Motoori Norinaga. One fascicle. Manuscript completed in the fifth lunar month of 1798; published in the eighth lunar month of 1801. Norinaga presents his own conclusions concerning the identity and nature of the kami worshipped at the Outer Shrine, which was the subject of great dispute. The specific points argued in this work already appear in Norinaga's Kojiki-den (Exegesis into the Kojiki), and the scholar and Ise Shrine priest Arakida Hisaoyu in his work Tsuki no ochiba kokoro-yari (Fallen Zelkova Leaves: A Consideration) also generally supports those conclusions, but Norinaga went ahead and wrote this work as an independent publication. The original plan was for the work to appear from a Nagoya publisher with a Foreword by the head of the Outer Shrine, but that apparently failed to occur. Instead the work finally appeared under the Norinaga academy's own Suzunoya imprint, lacking the official recognition by the Outer Shrine that would have been provided with a Foreword. In this work Norinaga rejects the Outer Shrine's assertion that the kami worshipped there is the Imperial Ancestral kami, and provides substantive evidence that the kami worshipped there is in fact a food or sustenance kami (shoku no kami ο). Furthermore, the work argues that, even though the kami worshipped at the Outer Shrine may not be the Imperial Ancestral kami, it is still inappropriate to compare the merits of its nature with those of the kami at the Inner Shrine. Norinaga hereby rejects the notion of a "lord-vassal" relationship between the kami of the two shrines, with that of the Outer Shrine in the inferior position, that had been espoused by Yoshimi Yoshikazu in an earlier work. Norinaga's study received broad support, in effect ending a dispute that had continued since the medieval period. In this work Norinaga also promotes an increased sensitivity to the fact that social factors strongly influence the values, or the ranking, placed on various kami. The work thus identifies the primary factor necessary to disprove the theories that heretofore had supported the superiority of one kami or the other at the two Ise Shrines. Included in Motoori Norinaga zenshū, vol. 8 (Chikuma Shobō, 1972). English translation by Mark Teeuwen, Motoori Norinaga's 'The Two Shrines of Ise: An Essay of Split Bamboo' (Ise Nikū Sakitake no Ben) (Harrassowitz Verlag, 1995).

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