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Bentley Kokugaku Scholars
Translated and Annotated by John R. Bentley
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About the Translator

John R. Bentley is Professor of Japanese at Northern Illinois University.

About the Book

Kokugaku “national study” is an academic field of study that spans a number of disciplines, including philology, poetry, literature, linguistics, history, religion, and philosophy. It began as a movement to recapture a sense of Japanese uniqueness, by focusing on Japanese poetic and linguistic elements found in the earliest surviving texts. As the movement grew, there was an attempt to separate native religious elements from Buddhist elements. This expanded to a vigorous attempt to weed out Confucian (and by extension anything “Chinese”) elements from native elements. This began as an investigation into the earliest anthology, Man’yōshū, which some Kokugaku scholars argued preserved a pristine picture of the “true heart” of the ancients.  Kokugaku matured under the tutelage of Kamo no Mabuchi and Motoori Norinaga, and expanded to include literary, linguistic, and historical analysis. With the death of Norinaga the philosophy of the movement fractured, and under Hirata native religious elements were amplified, with an advance toward nationalism. This anthology contains 26 essays by 13 influential Kokugaku scholars, covering roughly two centuries of thought, from 1690 down to the beginning of the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The volume is arranged according to four subjects: poetry, literature, scholarship, and religion/Japan (as a state). | 612 pages




| Keichū (1640-1701) | Andō Tameakira (1659-1716) | Kada no Azumamaro (1669-1736) | Kada no Arimaro (1706-1751) | Kamo no Mabuchi (1697-1769) | Ise Sadatake (1717-1784) | Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801) | Ueda Akinari (1734-1809) | Hattori Nakatsune (1757-1824) | Kagawa Kageki (1768-1843) | Hirata Atsutane (1776-1843) | Kamochi Masazumi (1791-1858) | Suzuki Masayuki (1837-1871) | Notes on the translation

  • Part One: Views on Poetry | Man’yō daishōki (Keichū) | Kokka hachiron (Kada no Arimaro) | Kokka hachiron yogon shūi (Kamo no Mabuchi) | Kaikō (Kamo no Mabuchi) | Man’yō kaitsūshaku to shakurei (Kamo no Mabuchi) | Ashiwake obune (Motoori Norinaga) | Man’yōshū kogi ‘Kogaku’(Kamochi Masazumi)
  • Part Two: Views on Literature | Shika shirchiron (Andō Tameakira) | Bun’ikō (Kamo no Mabuchi) | Isonokami sasamegoto (Motoori Norinaga) | Tama no ogushi (Motoori Norinaga)
  • Part Three: Views on Scholarship | ‘Petition to Establish a School’(Kada no Azumamaro) | Niimanabi (Kamo no Mabuchi) | Niimanabi iken (Kagawa Kageki) | Goikō (Kamo no Mabuchi) | Ashi kari yoshi (Ueda Akinari and Motoori Norinaga) | Uiyamabumi (Motoori Norinaga)
  • Part Four: Views on Japan/Religion | Kokuikō (Kamo no Mabuchi) | Shintō dokugo (Ise Sadatake) | Kokugōkō (Motoori Norinaga) | Naobi no mitama (Motoori Norinaga) | Kojiki-den (Motoori Norinaga) | Sandaikō (Hattori Nakatsune) | Kodō taii (Hirata Atsutane) | Tama no mihashira (Hirata Atsutane) | Tsuki no sakaki (Suzuki Masayuki) 

| Bibliography | Index

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