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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Medieval and Early Modern Schools
Ritō Shinchi Shintō
Shintō doctrine established by the early Edo period Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan (1583-1657). Razan was the only Confucian scholar officially employed by the Tokugawa government. Later in his life he wrote several books on Shintō matters; in all of them he briefly deals with what he calls ritō shinchi shintō. He never developed a complete doctrine of this form of Shintō, however, with the result that its general outlook is not clear.
       Razan first discussed in writing his own idea of the identity of Shintō and Confucianism in the first fascicle of his Zuihitsu, a collection of texts he composed around the Keichō era (1596-1615), when he was between 13 and 33 years-old; the term ritō shinchi shintō occurs for the first time in the fifth fascicle of the Zuihitsu, containing texts written in the Kan'ei era (1615-1644), when Razan was between 32 and 62 years-old. Thus, Razan had done some significant work on Shintō already before he wrote his most representative texts on the subject, such as the Honchō jinja kō and the Shintō denju shō. Razan defines his ritō shinchi shintō in the following way: "It is the Way of the sovereign [] Its transmission goes back to Tenshō Daijin [see Amaterasu ōmikami] and beginning with Emperor Jinmu each emperor has received it. When the emperor is still a child, it is transmitted to him by the great ministers of the left and the right or the regent" (Shintō denju shō).
       In contrast, he defines the other forms of Shintō that developed since the middle ages as "Shintō of secondary affairs such as divination and prayers," mere "kami matters of government officials." Razan does not reveal that his Shintō doctrine was his own creation and, in order to legitimize its spurious origin, he claims that it was handed down by the Ōe House (Shintō hiden setchū zokukai).
       Razan did not provide a clear definition of ritō shinchi shintō, but one can infer it was based on the Song Confucian doctrine of the relation of principle (li) and material force (qi), which lies at the basis of Razan's entire scholarly endeavor. No evidence exists that Razan attempted to actively promote his Shintō doctrine outside his entourage; within the Hayashi House it was transmitted through a form of initiation called kirigami. Hitomi Bokuyūken of the Mito domain, whose vassals had a close relationship with the Hayashi House, however, wrote a work called The Tōkenki which contains references to the Hayashi Shintō doctrines. In addition, some of the disciples of Deguchi Nobuyoshi, priest (shinkan) of the Outer Shrine at the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū), copied texts on Shintō matters written by Razan. See also Hayashi Razan

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