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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Nakae Tōju
(1608-48)
Confucian scholar of the early Edo period. His style was Korenaga, his formal name was Gen, and his common name was Yoemon. Born in Takashima District in Ōmi Province (present-day Takashima District, Shiga Prefecture), Nakae was later called the Sage of Ōmi (Ōmi seijin) because of his noble-minded character.
        Nakae began to expound his distinctive theories of Shinto starting at the age of thirty-one, in the last phase of his life. He first focused on the term Supreme Emperor (Ch. Huang Shang-di, Jp. Kōjōtei) found in the Chinese classics Shijing (Book of Poetry) and Shangshu (Book of Documents), and he wrote the two works Genjin and Jikei zusetsu, in which he presented the notion of the existence of a transcendental and primordial personal deity, a notion that has led some to see a Christian influence on his thought.
        At the age of thirty-three, and stimulated by Tang Jiuxuan's work Liyuan shengyu as found in Xingli huitong (compiled by Zhong Renjie in the Ming period in China), Nakae came to belive in a Unitary Divine Being or Deity (Tai'itsushin). Around the same time he acquired a religious understanding of the texts Yijing (Book of Changes) and Xiaojing (Classic of Filial Piety), and developed his own unique form of faith in supranormal phenomena and magical amulets His thought can be discerned in his Taijō tenson tai'itsu shinkyō jo and Reifu gikai, two texts which show the strong influence of Daoist conceptions of deities.
        On the other hand, he also sought to combine Confucianism and Shinto, stating that the rites of Confucianism and the ceremonies of Shinto were congruous. In his Okina mondō, Nakae termed this the Origin of the Universe Shinto (Taikyo Shintō). His religious views were carried on by his disciple Fuchi Kōzan (1617-86), and took root especially in the Aizu area (in present-day Fukushima Prefecture). Fuchi's religious explication of Nakae was based on the Classic of Filial Piety (Xiaojing) as well as Chapters on Action and Response According to the Most High (Ch. Taishang Ganyinpian, Jp. Taijō kannōhen), a Taoist classic about ethics and morality, and his teachings came to be known as the Moral Teaching of Tōju (Tōju shingaku). Nakae died on the twenty fifth day of the eighth month in 1648 at the age of forty one.

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