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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Watarai Ieyuki
(1256-1356)
A scholar of Ise Shintō during the Nanbokuchō period (ca. 1336-1392). Born as the first son of the Outer Shrine (Gekū) Suppliant Priest (negi) Muramatsu Ariyuki, Watarai began his career as a negi in 1306 and at the age of eighty-six reached the position of First Negi of the Outer Shrine, with the Junior Third court rank. He was most erudite in matters of Shinto in general, and the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū) in particular. His main works include Shintō kan'yō (Essence of Shinto, 1 fascicle), Ruiju jingi hongen (Rubricated Sources on the Origins of the Kami, 15 fascicles), Jingi hishō (Extract of Secrets about the Kami, 1 fascicle), and Korenshō (Collection of the Offering Vessel, 5 fascicles).
        Compiled in 1320, Ruiju jingi hongen is a wide-ranging collection of assorted sources on the kami covering some fifteen chapters, while Shintō kan'yō offers a simplified and abbreviated interpretation of the ultimate essence or teachings (ōgi) of the former work's contents. Watarai's work stresses a practice-oriented philosophy of purification aiming at "sincerity" and "purity."
He was also actively involved in the movement supporting the Southern Court in Yoshino. In 1336, he welcomed Kitabatake Chikafusa and his son Akinobu to Ise and offered his support to the cause of the Southern Court, and in the process exerted a profound influence on Kitabatake's thought. In alliance with Kusunoki Masatsura from Kawachi Province, Watarai was involved in series of battles against forces from Shima and Owari during 1347-48. The date of his death is uncertain, but he remained active at least until 1356, and lived to be over one hundred years of age.

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