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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Yoshida Kanemigi
(1516-1573)
Head of Yoshida Shintō in Japan's period of warring states (sengoku, ca. 1457-1568). Born on the twentieth day of the fourth month (May 21), 1516, as the second son of Kiyohara Nobukata (who was the third son of Yoshida Kanetomo). The Yoshida house was at that time led by Kanemitsu (son of Kanetomo's eldest son Kanemune), but Kanemitsu absconded in 1525 after setting his house on fire, the upshot of a fierce dispute on the right of transmission with his uncle Hirano Kanenaga (Kanetomo's second son). As a result, Kanemigi was made head of the Yoshida House at the age of only nine years.
        In his later career at court, he reached the ceremonial posts of Imperial Chamberlain (jijū), Senior Assistant Director of Divinities (jingi taifu), and Head of the Right Middle Palace Guard (uyōe no kami). Taking over the Yoshida Shintō tradition as it existed since Kanetomo, Kanemigi performed rites at the imperial palace, at the Yoshida Shrine (today's Yoshida Jinja), and at the Yoshida Saijōsho, and he also had the right to distribute rank certificates (sōgen senji, lit., imperial decrees of Sōgen Shinto), and licenses pertaining to ceremonial matters (shintō saikyojō) to local shrines.
        At the same time, he tried to restore the family's library, which had been lost in the course of Kanemitsu's abscondence, and devoted his efforts to completing and consolidating the Yoshida interpretation of Shinto. Moreover, he frequently toured the provinces, where he transmitted Yoshida rituals and gave lectures to local daimyō and shrine priests, thus engaging in the dissemination of Yoshida Shintō.
        From 1542-44 he was invited by the daimyō Ōuchi Yoshitaka (1507-1551) to visit Yamaguchi in western Honshū. At that time he drafted his Shintō sōjō shō (Comments on the Transmission of Shinto—now stored at the Yoshida Archives of Tenri Library) which provides a sketch of Shinto initiation rites for persons like Yoshitaka or important shrine priests, thus providing an invaluable source of information on the state of Yoshida Shintō activities in the sengoku period. Yoshida Kanemigi died on the tenth day of the first month (February 12), 1573, at the age of fifty-seven.

—Itō Satoshi
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
4-10-28 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-8440, Japan
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