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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Kaibara Ekiken
(1630-1714)
Confucian scholar of the early Edo period. Known also as a herbalist and educator of commoners. A retainer of the Fukuoka Domain in Chikuzen Province (present-day Fukuoka Prefecture), Kaibara's. His formal name was Atsunobu, his style was Shisei, and his common name was Sukesaburō. He took the tonsure at the age of twenty-six and adopted the name Jūsai. He pursued classical Japanese studies from an early age (producing the Wagaku ippo), and additionally attained a deep knowledge of Shinto, as his ancestors were members of the priesthood (shinshoku) at the shrine Kibitsu Jinja.
       The literary works of Deguchi Nobuyoshi (1615-1690), priest of the Outer Shrine (Gekū) of the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū) were kept in his family. He was also in contact with Yoshikawa Koretaru (1616-1694), and frequently attended lectures on Shinto literature given by the Shintoist Matsushita Kenrin (1637-1703). Additionally, he wrote a number of shrine histories, including the Dazaifu jinja engi (History of Dazaifu Shrine). His outlook on Shinto is expressed most clearly in his Jingikun (Lessons of the Deities) and Shinju heikō aimotorazaru ron (Treatise on the Non-Divergence of Shinto and Confucianism). In these works, he states his belief that the fundamental Way (michi) of heaven and earth is to be found in both Shinto and Confucianism, and that a study of both reveals them to be mutually supporting. He claimed, however, that Buddhism rejected the human relationships of this world, and was thus incompatible with Shinto and Confucianism. Thus Kaibara's interpretation of Shinto can be understood as rooted in a doctrine of the unity of Shinto and Confucian teachings and the rejection of Buddhism. He died on the twenty-seventh day of the eighth month of 1714 at the age of eighty-five.

- Yazaki Hiroyuki
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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