Vol. 19 (2012)

The Shintoization of the Yijing in Hirata Atsutane’s Kokugaku


Although national learning and Chinese learning seemed to stand on opposite poles, they had a much more complicated relationship. While many Tokugawa Confucians engaged themselves in the study of ancient Japanese classics, historical records, and religion, kokugaku scholars also read Chinese texts as well as the Confucian classics, using them either as useful references or negative examples. The Yijing (Book of Changes) was a text of particular interest to kokugaku scholars. Using the kokugaku thinker Hirata Atsutane (1776-1843) and his school as main references, this study examines how kokugaku scholars transformed the Yijing from a Chinese Confucian classic into a Japanese Shinto text. Through an investigation of the uses and appropriation of the Yijing among kokugaku scholars, this study aims to analyze the nature of kokugaku, the relationship between Confucianism and kokugaku, and the localization of Chinese learning in the Tokugawa period.