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Home » 9. Texts and Sources » Other Basic Texts
Honchōjinjakō
(Hayashi Razan)
This three-volume collection was compiled by Hayashi Razan at the beginning of the modern period. The text was finished between the end of Kanei era (1624-1643) and 1645 and was published during the Shōhō era (1644-1647). The first volume includes material on the Nijūnisha (the Twenty-Two Shrines). The second volume details famous great shrines. The third volume covers shrines with famous legends and traditions, hermits (shinsen), and great personages. In total, this text introduces one hundred and sixty shrines, and details the characteristics unique to each shrine—enshrined kami (saijin), origins and histories of the shrine, cults, and tales of miracles performed there, among other things—excerpted from historical works such as the Nihon shoki. In addition, annotations have been added as needed; these are mainly critical evaluations of previous interpretations of the cited material. Among these annotations is an examination of tengu (long-nosed goblins) in Hirata Atsutane's Kokon yōmi kō which is valuable in that it offers a fundamental knowledge about the history of shrines and ideas concerning spirits and the "mysterious" (kaii ) during the early modern period. Until this text was compiled, shrines were treated as individual entities and considered according to their own unique legends and histories. However, because shrines were introduced by classifying and arranging them from a broad, "national" perspective, the Honchō jinja kō became a type of "general outline" for shrines in Japan. As such, this work may be considered as the starting point in the modern period for research intended to provide an introduction to a subject to a general readership. According the opening of this work, this book was compiled from a perspective of rejecting Buddhism (haibutsushugi ) that distinguishes it from the Buddhist-Shintō syncretization (shūgōsetsu) often seen in shrine histories dating from the medieval period. Yet, because approximately thirty percent of its references are drawn from the Genkō shakusho, the Honchō jinja kō nevertheless often relies on shrine histories from the medieval period which are clearly of Buddhist origin. The Jinjya shōsetsu published in 1645 at the request of Tokugawa Yoshinao is considered to be an abbreviated version of the Honchō jinja kō. The Honchō jinja kō is included in the Shintō taikei, Ronsetsu-hen, Fujiwara Seika and Hayashi Razan.

—Mori Mizue
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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