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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Watarai Yukitada
(1236-1305)
A scholar of Ise Shintō of the late Kamakura period. His father was Nishikawara Yukitsugu, but he was raised by his grandfather, Yukiyoshi. Watarai Yukitada was appointed as Suppliant Priest (negi) of the Outer Shrine (Gekū) at the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū) in 1251. The apex of his career came in 1297, when he was selected as an interim First Suppliant Priest (ichi no negi, this according to the no ji satabumi, Documents on the Character for 'Imperial'). He served as an Outer Shrine Suppliant Priest for fifty-three years, and developed a profound system of thought and faith on the basis of the ancient ritual praxis transmitted at Ise.
        Among Watarai's central works are Ise nisho daijingū shinmei hisho (Secret Book of the Names of the Deities of the two Great Shrines of Ise), Korō kujitsu den (Oral Transmissions of the Ancient and the Old), and Shin no mihashira ki (Record of the Central Heart Pillars). Ise nisho daijingū shinmei hisho gives an overview of the deities enshrined in the many shrines of the Ise complex, the sites they reside, their divine powers, and their genealogies. Korō kujitsu den gives various instructions to Ise priests, both in their private lives and in their official capacities, and Shin no mihashira ki includes ritual procedures related to the sacred "heart" pillars hidden under the main shrine halls of the Inner and Outer Shrines. In addition to these works, Watarai Yukitada has also been mentioned as the possible author of the so-called Five Books of Shinto (Shintō gobusho). His thought was developed further by Watarai Ieyuki, who systematized it into what was to become the school of Ise Shintō.
        In 1296-97, a legal conflict occurred between the Inner and Outer Shrines of Ise over the Outer Shrine's use of the character "imperial" () in its name. During this conflict, Watarai Yukitada was the central figure of the Outer Shrine party. He died on the twenty-seventh day of the intercalary twelfth month, 1305, at the age of seventy.

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