[Table of Contents]

Magatsubi no Kami and Motoori Norinaga[Glossary: motoori_norinaga]'s TheologyI

UEDA Kenji

1. Introduction

The philologist Motoori Norinaga (1730-1801) was the first Japanese thinker to undertake a serious consideration of the concept of "kami of disorder"II (Magatsubi no kami[Glossary: magatsuhi_no_kami] or) as an issue of Shinto theology. Norinaga's theology has been the subject of criticism both within and without the fold of Shinto, and while his influence spread during his lifetime, even greater interest was drawn to the issue with the appearance of his disciple Hirata Atsutane[Glossary: hirata_atsutane] (1776-1843), resulting in the impression that the topic had been a constant historical debate within Shinto theology. In part, that impression is a result of the fact that, at least superficially, Atsutane issued a frontal negation to Norinaga's theology as it is generally understood, namely, the view of Magatsubi no kami as a kami of evil, and insisted instead on the Magatsubi no kami as a kami of good.

This sort of conflict between two giants in the history of National Learning (Kokugaku[Glossary: kokugaku] ) suggests an excellent topic of research for students of intellectual history, and explains the large number of studies on the subject even today. But excluding those by nativists directly involved with the Meiji Restoration, most studies undertaken until the present --- even those by people within the fold of Shinto faith --- have treated the debate as merely a methodological issue,1 thereby producing results not much different from those suggested by intellectual historians. This circumstance has likely resulted from the influence of Western scientific attitudes, as well as the posture taken toward matters of faith under so-called state Shinto[Glossary: kokka_shinto], but its result has been that the issue's import as a topic in historical theology2 has remained unexamined. The sterility of Shinto theology more properly could be said to symbolize Shinto's mode of existence and its relationships to power in such ages.

Needless to say, outside of research in the classics the very name Magatsubi no kami is not heard much nowadays, and it evokes associations out of synch with modern sensibilities. But in fact, the issue bears on the very essence of Shinto. I should not have to reemphasize the great importance of the ritual of harai[Glossary: harai,_harae] ["exorcistic purification"] within the living practice of Shrine Shinto. Since the time of the Engishiki[Glossary: engi_shiki],III the ritual of purification continues to form a vital part of the Shinto liturgy [norito[Glossary: norito]],3 and even if the name of the kami is not properly appreciated by many people, their everyday values, attitudes and ways of life --- in brief, their religious posture --- continues to have a deep relationship to this kami. The estrangement of this kami from modern consciousness, rather than indicating changing religious conceptions, should rather be blamed on a failure of educational activities on the part of Shintoists. As a result, the debate regarding the Magatsubi no kami has not lost its relevance as an issue for Shinto theology.

[While I have felt a long and continuing interest in this issue, I neglected pursuing my study, due both to a lack of confidence in my approach to the two giants Norinaga and Atsutane, as well as to my apprehension of the importance of following and substantiating later religious developments. I do not claim to have finished work on it even now. My feeling is that when, in the attempt to achieve a limited consistency, one divorces thought and faith from the original thinker's overall system of thought and faith and the reality of his life, one not only runs the risk of committing egregious mistakes of scholarship, but --- when one is a theologian --- one also risks committing sacrilege against the ultimate object of one's faith. This does not mean we should address ourselves only to contemporary events, or to the academic theories of fellow contemporaries, as seems to be the constant fashion with theological issues nowadays. One cannot escape the necessity of going back to Norinaga, searching the classics and ritual traditions, and critically reflecting on one's own situation. In that sense, as I said earlier, I feel yet to be insufficiently prepared. On the other hand, one must also remember the truth that theology neither comes into being nor advances without doing theology. As a result, this essay should be understood as a tentative first attempt to approach the lines from Norinaga to Atsutane, and from there, the influential trends of current academic thought.]

1. Views of Magatsubi no Kami Before Norinaga

In an essay entitled "Naobi and Magatsubi no kami as Deities of Judgment,"IV the eminent Shinto historian Nishida Nagao writes, "It goes without saying that Motoori Norinaga should be called the first proponent of the theory of Magatsubi no kami as a kami of evil." As documentation for his claim, Nishida cites several sources, including the Nihon shoki sanso[Glossary: nihon_shoki_sanso] by Ichijô Kanera[Glossary: ichijo_kaneyoshi,_also_kanera] (1402-1481) and the Shoki shûge[Glossary: shokishuge] by Kawamura Hidene[Glossary: kawamura_hidene] (1723-1792), thus emphasizing his claim that the "evil deity" theory did not exist prior to Norinaga. In fact, those who know Nishida's opponent in the debate forming the context for his essay can clearly read his conscious intent in the essay, since he goes so far as to claim that the failure of the "evil kami" theory to achieve a more lasting status than Norinaga's pet theory is clear from the fact that it was defeated by his "true" successor, Hirata Atsutane.

While each of Nishida's assertions must be addressed in turn, I feel I must, at very least, pay a certain respect to the ideas he expresses here. In a sense, my feeling is the result of the unusual personal impression he left with me, but it is also likely true that no one before Nishida had attempted to verify the pre-Norinaga perception of Magatsubi no kami.

Be that as it may, one cannot avoid criticizing Nishida's claims when one perceives the undeniable manipulations latent in his theory. For example, in the case of the Nihon shoki sanso, Kanera discusses Magatsubi no kami in his commentary on that part of the Nihon shoki[Glossary: nihon_shoki] dealing with the sixth alternate version of the story of the birth of four deities;V there, he states,

Two utterances produced nine kami. This should be understood as the true heart of purity, namely, the Way of honesty [shôjiki]. [To] correct [sei or shô] means to make middle that which is not the middle. [To make] straight [choku or jiki] means to make not-twisted that which is twisted. For this reason the male kami spoke, saying, "The upper stream is too swift and the lower stream is too slow." Neither upper nor lower is the middle. To be too swift is to be in excess, while to be too slow is to be deficient, and neither excess nor deficiency is the middle. The middle current where he washed was the middle which was neither too swift nor too slow. "Twisted" [maga] means the opposite of straight, while "eighty" [yaso] means such maga are legion. Kamunaobi means that which rectifies maga. Ônaobi means the perfection of the straight.

The overall passage makes it clear that Kanera was attempting, in the manner typical of medieval explications of the virtue of "honesty" [shôjiki] to associate shô with the "middle" [naka ] of the middle current Nakatsuse, and to associate the divine personality of Naobi with "straightness" or "uprightness" [jiki]. With regard to Magatsubi, he asserts, "Maga means the opposite of uprightness, while yaso means such maga are legion," thus leaving no room for doubt regarding the negative value he attributed to it. Why, then, could the eminent researcher Nishida claim that "it does not appear that Kanera was necessarily insisting on the Magatsubi no kami as a deity of evil," so as to make this citation a grounds for his own theory? Kanera believed in the common syncretism of the religions of kami, buddhas, and Confucianism, with the result that he speaks everywhere of the existence of evil deities. One can only conclude that Nishida's claim lacks objectivity.

What, then of Kawamura Hidene's Shoki shûge? Nishida here quotes the following passage from Hidene:

On reflection, I think that [the] three kami were not produced separately; they were named as deities produced when Izanagi[Glossary: izanagi] transgressed, and made amends for that transgression (Shoki shûge [Rinsen Shoten, 1969] II:65).

Apparently quite fluent in Chinese works, Hidene possessed an intellectual, objective attitude, and throughout the work in question, he rarely expresses his own personal opinion, but the passage above is one such case. But he precedes the passage above by quoting excerpts from the Engishiki's "Festival of the Gates norito"VI and the Shaku Nihongi, and when one compares those passages, namely, "The evil spoken by Ama no Magatsubi," and "His [Izanagi's] going to Yomi[Glossary: yomi] was an exceeding evil," with Hidene's own expression, "Izanagi transgressed," it seems more natural to demur to Nishida's theory that "he [Hidene] certainly did not think of Magatsubi as an evil kami."

The most problematic point of all, however, is why Nishida, in referring to the scholars preceding Norinaga, ignored the opinions of the nativists. For example, in his Nihon shoki Jindaikan-shô, Kada no Azumamaro[Glossary: kada_no_azumamaro]VII (1669-1736) says, "Other lands hold the theory that human nature is innately good, but Japan holds the theory that there is both good and evil. . . . The active spirit [ki] of Susanoo no mikoto[Glossary: susanoo_no_mikoto] dwells between heaven and earth, and those who contact it die prematurely, and plants and trees wither." Azumamaro thus states that Susanoo no mikoto is an evil kami, and that his child[Glossary: mikogami] Ônamuchi no kami is "chief of all the evil kami." Then, commenting on the Magatsubi no kami, he says, "This is actually Izanagi no mikoto," going on to insist, "This work is consistent in asserting that Susanoo was evil natured, a result of the misdeed of his father." (p.171).

This same understanding is reflected in Azumamaro's Nihon shoki jindaikan sakki [A memorial regarding the divine-age chapters of the Nihon shoki], where he adds a note regarding Magatsubi no kami, saying, "This kami was of an extremely twisted nature. . . . Izanagi's entrance into the land of Yomi was fundamentally due to the sway of Magatsubi, which is why he appeared from [Izanagi's] lustration."VIII In sum, Azumamaro unquestionably believed Magatsubi to be a kami of evil.

Norinaga, however, had no knowledge of Azumamaro's works. What, then, of Kamo no Mabuchi[Glossary: kamo_no_mabuchi] (1697-1769)? In his Engishiki norito-ge [Commentary on the Engishiki norito],IX he explains the expression "[you do not consent] to the evil words of the kami called Ame no magatsubi," by saying that "the sense of this sentence. . . is that [the kami of the gates] does not speak of, or have anything to do with the deviant words and deeds of the evil deity." Mabuchi then adds, "This kami is the Yasomagatsubi no kami mentioned in the previous passage, a kami of evil."X

This passage should be understood, however, as indicating one stage in the growth of Mabuchi's theology. In 1768, near the end of his life, Mabuchi briefly discussed the same passage in his Norito-kô[Glossary: norito_ko],XI saying that "What is here written as evil acts [akuji ] is in fact far from the original sense, and in both the Kojiki[Glossary: kojiki] and the Man'yôshû it is written with the character [maga], meaning something which is not straight [choku naranu]. A diversity of such twisted, deviant things exist." But this passage is not a direct comment on the Magatsubi no kami, and it cannot be taken to suggest that Mabuchi understood the kami as having an ethically neutral nature.

When viewed in this way, it is clear that Motoori Norinaga was by no means the first Shinto theologian to ever assert that Magatsubi no kami was a kami of evil.4 On the contrary, he was the first person to discuss the nature of this kami in a theoretical exposition and form worthy of the label "theology," and it is this fact which must not be overlooked.

2. Norinaga's Theory of Magatsubi no Kami

It is believed that Norinaga first made reference to the Magatsubi no kami in 1765 at the age of thirty-five, one year after he became a disciple of Kamo no Mabuchi. The expression occurs in a letter addressed to Tanigawa Kotosuga,5 where he says,

Since human beings are not kami, how can one know the mind of the kami? Only kami can know the kami`s own mind. Can you of yourself become a kami? Such a claim would be reckless arrogance. I find it impossible to understand how you, superb vessel of the age that you are, and with surpassing talent, could not avoid the evil of that kind of vulgar learning. Are you under the spell of Magatsubi no kami? I only hope that as a result of my lowly words, the middle stream of the Plain of Awagi will purify you from that bygone stain of the [Confucian] Doctrine of Principle [rigaku], and reaching that purifying, refreshing realm of Shinto, [you] might quickly behold the light of Ônaobi.

Based on the context, it appears that the underlined portion should read "are you not under the spell of Magatsubi no kami?" but even in the original, it is clear that Norinaga is using Magatsubi no kami to indicate a baneful kami, one that brings about evil and leads humans into iniquity. It has been said that in 1764, Norinaga was already at the stage of preparation for his Kojikiden[Glossary: kojiki-den],XII making it clear that he had already begun firming his beliefs in the Magatsubi no kami at a surprisingly early date.6

How, then, did Norinaga understand the Magatsubi no kami, and what was he trying to transmit through that understanding? When discussing Norinaga's thought and theology, it is common to proceed by referring to the central place of his Naobi no mitama[Glossary: mitama]. This work has created the ground for lasting debate, a fact which is only natural considering the overall position Norinaga himself gave it in Kojikiden. How, then, did he deal with Magatsubi no kami there? In response to that question, I want to outline the following fourteen items or topics from Norinaga's work, in the attempt to grasp the elements of Norinaga's theology in as systematic a way as possible.

According to Norinaga,

[1] "Originally, all things existing throughout heaven and earth are entirely the mind of the kami" (Zenshû 9:53-4).XIII He continues by saying, "The changing of spring and fall, the falling of rain and tempest of wind, all things good and evil which may befall men and lands, one and all are the doings of the kami."

Naturally, events considered misfortune, disaster and pollution are also brought about by kami. From this beginning, Norinaga goes on to discuss the nature of kami:

[2] "Among the kami are good and evil, and their doings are likewise in accord with that nature" (Zenshû 9:54). In short, Norinaga here insists on the existence of evil kami. As evidence for this claim, he notes the logically inexplicable fact that "since ancient times, good people have been visited by evil, and evil people have been blessed with good fortune." Regarding the evil kami mentioned here, Norinaga says it is

[3] Magatsubi no kami, and "there is no remedy for the fury of its august mind" (Zenshû 9:55). Not only is it impossible for men to resist its potency, but "When it is at the height of its rage, even the power of Amaterasu ômikami[Glossary: amaterasu_omikami] and Takagi no ôkamiXIV cannot serve to subdue it."

Even so, Magatsubi no kami is by no means in possession of absolute power. For Norinaga, what is most important to humans is the fact that

[4] "Amaterasu ômikami dwells in the High Plain of Heaven, and Her great light remains undimmed" (Zenshû 9:55).

As a result, even though wicked men like Hôjô Yoshitoki (1163-1224), Hôjô Yasutoki (1183-1242), and Ashi-kaga Takauji (1305-1358)XV received the beneficence of Magatsubi no kami and flourished for a time, "The venerable imperial throne [remains unmoved] for ages eternal" (Zenshû 9:56). It is here that the essence of the Japanese Way is manifest. In short, this Way is

[5] "None other than the Way which, through the august spirit of Takamimusubi no kami[Glossary: takamimusubi_no_kami]," the god of all begetting, "was inaugurated by the first two ancestral kami Izanagi no ôkami and Izanami no ôkami[Glossary: izanami]," and which Way was subsequently "received, maintained, and passed down by Amaterasu ôkami" (Zenshû 9:57). As a natural result,

[6] "The one below" is in accord with "the Way, when he submits humbly to the will of the one who is above" (Zenshû 9:59). Further, "Inasmuch as they receive birth through the spirit of Takamimusubi no kami, all people know and perform spontaneously that behavior appropriate to their status," with the result that it is unnecessary to establish an explicit teaching to which they are forced to submit. In turn, those spontaneous actions include,

[7] "Offering reverent worship to the ancestral kami," "offering supplications for blessings when in need, beseeching the good kami and avoiding wrongdoing, placating evil kami through worship, and performing purification when one has contacted pollution" (Zenshû 9:61).

Among the kami are "not only good kami, but evil as well, and their minds and acts are likewise in accord with their natures," with the result that they are not to be treated "in consideration of whether they are in accord with right and wrong," but "merely to be offered fervent worship, in awe of their wrath." The ancient way in which that worship is to be performed is, "first, to make all things pure and undefiled, allowing of no pollution, then to make offerings of the best foods one has, or to perform enjoyments such as koto and flute, songs and dancing" (Zenshû 9:61). Among items of taboo, utmost care is required in the purity of fire: "if fire is impure, the Magatsubi no kami will use it as opportunity for rage," and "manifold evils [will occur] in the world." As a result, the correct observance of worship is of utmost importance, and humans have no need to consider else beside. The fact that Norinaga took this line of argument is, in fact, simply because

[8] In the present age, "I am unable to remain silent in view of the actions of the Magatsubi no kami, and so have assumed the spirit of the gods of rectification Kamunaobi no kami and Ônaobi no kami[Glossary: naobi_no_kami],XVI in an effort to rectify those wrongs."

While I have tried to present the crux and conclusion of Norinaga's arguments in the foregoing eight items, it is impossible to understand the entirety of Norinaga's position regarding Magatsubi no kami based on his work Naobi no mitama alone. On the contrary, it goes without saying that his central work is his magnum opus Kojikiden, and it is no exaggeration to say that nothing relating to his life-long theological development cannot be found within that work. Accordingly, my presentation here should in fact have proceeded based on Norinaga's thought as found in Kojikiden, but due to the nature of the issue in question, I have deliberately adopted the Naobi no mitama as a point of departure, and will use Kojikiden to supplement the points of debate.

With that condition understood, I would like to proceed in accordance with the order of development seen in Kojikiden to outline several other points. First, the following passage must be noted, from that part of the third chapter dealing with Norinaga's so-called "definition of kami":

[9] "It is common for people to understand the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and holy sages of other countries as all representing equivalent kinds of beings, but to attempt to apprehend the [Japanese] kami on the basis of that same principle is an egregious error. While evil and noxious gods are entirely contrary to right at most times, and good kami likewise act in accord with their nature as good kami, there are occasions which do not accord with this proper principle. When provoked, a good kami may erupt in rage, while evil deities may soften their hearts when happy, and it is not entirely inconceivable that they might even bestow blessings on humans. And although people may not realize it, the actions [of a kami] which may at first be thought evil, in fact turn out good, while those first thought to be good, may in fact turn out evil" (Zenshû 9:126).

Next, in the fifth chapter of Kojikiden, Norinaga comments on the birth of the ten generations of kami from Ôkoto oshio no kami to Haya-akizuhime no kami:XVII

[10] "These ten kami originally correspond to the deities noted in a variant `one writing' [within the Nihon shoki], and which were produced in the process of [Izanagi's] earlier purification, but the accounts have become confused, and the Kojiki combines this account and that account [into one]" (Zenshû 9:204).

Continuing in the sixth chapter, Norinaga discusses the "separation" (kotodowatashi)XVIII of Izanagi and Izanami, saying,

[11] "The fact that all people die is the result of the workings of the yomotsukami[Glossary: yomotsukami] [the kami of the land of Yomi], (originally, all the various evils which injure human beings are the doings of the Magatsubi no kami. This kami came to be from the pollution of the land of Yomi, and the deity's fundamental nature is clearly manifest in [Izanami's] words, `I will strangle one-thousand of the people'), while to be given birth is a divine blessing from Izanagi no ôkami" (Zenshû 9:257). Next, in the same chapter Norinaga discusses the Deity of Manifold Disorders [Yasomagatsubi no kami] and the Great Deity of Disorder [Ômagatsubi no kami]:

[12] "The Yamatohime no mikoto seiki[Glossary: yamato_hime_no_mikoto_seiki]XIX describes the Aramatsuri no Miya [at Ise], saying, `this enshrines the rough spirit (aramitama[Glossary: aramitama]) of the Imperial Kami [Amaterasu], which was the offspring of Izanagi no ôkami; its name is Yasomagatsubi no kami, also called Seoritsu-hime no kami.'XX While a spurious document, this work suggests that the kami in question is the rough spirit of the imperial deity of Ise, and as I discuss later, this description should likely be considered one transmitted from ancient legend" (Zenshû 9:272).

The final item from Kojikiden is found in the seventh chapter, where Norinaga discusses the Three Noble ChildrenXXI and the division of their rule. Here, in the passage where Norinaga begins by saying, "Men measure the divine age by human standards,"XXII he continues his argument with

[13] "The things of this world, in every time and every age, alternate regularly between good and evil, and this principle. . . has its source in the events at the beginning of the divine age" (Zenshû 9:294).

Needless to say, Norinaga discusses the Magatsubi no kami directly in numerous works besides Kojikiden, including (in chronological order) his Tômonroku, Kuzubana, Tamakushige, Tamaboko hyakushu and Tamakatsuma[Glossary: tamakatsuma] .XXIII Rather than in Kojikiden, the clearest and most crucial of Norinaga's statements on the subject are those found in the final section of the Tômonroku, where he says,

[14] "Since heaven and earth are of one fabric, there must likewise be but one true Way in heaven and earth, and all other ways are not the True Way" (Zenshû 1:550).

The preceding numbered items represent my attempt to introduce the requisite points of debate in an organized fashion. Next, I want to consider the issues surrounding each of these points.

3. The Nature of Kami, and the Debate Regarding Magatsubi no Kami

Norinaga's thought on the Magatsubi no kami develops not only around the mere issue of whether the Magatsubi no kami is a kami of evil. That fact is only natural when one considers theology as a systematic enterprise, and it should be additionally clear from the fact that direct comments on the Magatsubi no kami are found in only five (Nos. 3, 7, 8, 11, and 12) of the fourteen points noted above. We must begin our consideration from the first of those points.

First, we should note that the expression quoted from the Naobi no mitama is found in virtually identical form in Tamakushige (Zenshû 8:315), Tamakatsuma (Zenshû 1:432), and elsewhere besides. The first issue regards the expressions "the mind of the kami" and "acts of the kami," namely, what kind of kami is being concretely referred to here? If this first point is discussed in isolation from the others, it might even be used as evidence that Norinaga possessed a concept of an absolute deity. In fact, in the third chapter of Kojikiden, where he discusses the deities of creativity Takamimusubi no kami and Kamimusubi no kami, he uses an expression very close to that found in item [1] above, namely, "Well then, all things in this world, from these heavens and earth to all physical objects and events, one and alike issue from the productive spirit [musubi[Glossary: musubi]] of these two great kami of production" (Zenshû 9:129). Even if he does not refer to a single deity, it could be said that Norinaga proposes the idea of an absolute power in the term musubi. According to this train of thought, the kami spoken of in item [1] can thus be assumed to be none other than the two gods of musubi.

But that line of argument must be considered a misunderstanding, since in the same passage dealing with musubi, Norinaga adds, "It is no mistake to say that all the kami are the divine offspring of these [two] kami, so that both kami and humans issue from the productive spirit [musubi] of these [two] kami (Zenshû 9:130). There remains some doubt as to whether "issue"XXIV here means to come into being as a "recipient of the august spirit of" the musubi no kami[Glossary: musubi_no_kami], or merely "by the working of the august spirit of" the musubi no kami, but since he uses the expression "from" [yorite],XXV it seems certain that he intends the former. But in the same way seen in items [2] and [3], Norinaga recognizes the relative independence of the kami, even when they are divine offspring [of other kami]. As a result, Norinaga should not be understood as proposing the idea of a solitary or absolute kami.

Further, it is necessary to differentiate the concept that all things "issue from" [the kami], and the concept of the "mind" [mikokoro] and "acts" [mishiwaza] of the kami from which the issuing occurs. Based on these points, it is likely that the "kami" spoken of in item [1] was merely a common noun referring to kami in general, and was not used to indicate any specific divine personality. Based on Norinaga's definition and understanding of kami as developed in chapter three of Kojikiden,7 the "mind" and "acts" of the "multitude of kami" are responsible for all the events and happenings in this world. This point can be called the crux of item [1] in the discussion as outlined above. Needless to say, it is wrong to claim that Norinaga's religious attitude here was a product of influence from his family religion, Pure Land Buddhism,8 or that it indicated a disregard for or dismissal of human responsibility or the role of the individual human.9

Next, it is impossible to discuss items [2] and [3] in mutual isolation. Norinaga states that the existence of evil kami is a reality of the world,10 but it must next be asked just what he meant by "evil kami" [akushin]. In chapter seven of Kojikiden, Norinaga's own characteristic view of history is developed, where he states,

As a result of the birth of the kami of fire . . . the august parent deity [Izanami] departed [from this world], and this event signals the beginning of all the evils [magakoto] in the world . . . All the causes of death, whether sickness or other, are evil . . . in this way, the land of Yomi is the land to which the goddess [Izanami] removed herself and long dwelt as a result of this evil, making it the source of all the evils in the world, the place from which all evils in the world arise. The goddess . . . entered this land of Yomi, and dwelt there, becoming an evil kami . . . and thus forming the root from which Magatsubi no kami was born (Zenshû 9:294).

Namely, Norinaga here states that death is "evil" (maga),11 and since Yomi is the land of death, it is the original source12 of evil things; since the goddess Izanami became Yomotsu ôkami --- the Great Kami who dwelled in Yomi --- she is said to be an evil kami, and it is from this land that the Magatsubi no kami was born.

I do not believe that death is considered an absolutely negative value in Shinto,13 but so long as one does not criticize human longings as wrong in themselves, it is only natural that the individual should view death in a negative light. It is on the basis of this understanding that Norinaga labels death as maga, an opinion which cannot be called a theological error. In short, Norinaga's view is that "evil kami" are those which bring about all manners of human unhappiness, ultimately leading to death.

The next question is why Norinaga considered Magatsubi no kami to be an evil kami. I earlier discussed the passage in chapter seven of Kojikiden, noting that Magatsubi no kami was born from the underworld of Yomi. But that explanation, in fact, was not entirely accurate. As Norinaga stated in item [11] above, "This kami arose from the pollution [kegare[Glossary: kegare]] of the land of Yomi," and it is this statement that forms ground for his argument, based on the passage in the Kojiki regarding Izanagi's lustration. Namely, "Yasomagatsubi no kami. Next, Ômagatsubi no kami. These two deities came to be as a result of the pollution when [Izanagi] went to that land of abounding filth."XXVI

The account given in the Nihon shoki, however, differs from the above, stating instead, " `Thus I will wash in the middle current.' As a result, the kami called Yasomagatsubi no kami came into being. Next, to amend that evil was produced a kami called Kamunaobi no kami, and after it, Ônaobi no kami."XXVII

Based on a preceding passage in the Nihon shoki, however, Norinaga did not apparently consider this difference to be an obstacle to his understanding of the Magatsubi no kami as a deity generated from pollution, namely as a god of evil. That earlier passage stated, " Izanagi returned and was immediately filled with remorse, saying, `I have been to the most repulsive of places. Let me wash away the filth from my body.'"XXVIII As a result, Norinaga's reasoning here cannot be considered theologically unsound.14

Next, we must ask, why did Norinaga focus on Magatsubi no kami as chief representative of evil kami? According to the passage quoted earlier from the seventh chapter of Kojikiden, the evil originated when the august parent kami Izanami departed from this world. And this kami was considered an evil kami since she dwelt in the land of Yomi. In fact, since the Kojiki gives her the name Yomotsu ôkami (Great Kami of Yomi), it is this kami which should actually be considered the ancestor of evil kami. Norinaga himself recognized the fact of this kami`s becoming an evil kami as "the root source from which Magatsubi no kami was born."

But Izanami no kami remained behind in the land of Yomi. In contrast, Magatsubi no kami was born from the pollution of Yomi, as a product of Izanagi's lustrations after obstructing the pass between the land of Yomi and the "Central Land." Accordingly, there is no reason for criticism of Norinaga's understanding that the Magatsubi no kami was the chief instigator of evil in the Central Land (the present world). And the same rationale is applicable when Susanoo no mikotoXXIX is likewise called an evil kami. Namely, in the previous passage from the seventh chapter of Kojikiden, Norinaga states,

That Susanoo no mikoto was an evil kami who raged and caused harm is a result of the fact that [his parent] Izanagi no ôkami --- while entirely a deity of good --- nonetheless came in contact with evil [magakoto] for a brief time (Zenshû 9:295).

On the other hand, some doubt may remain as to why, of the three Noble Children produced after the Magatsubi no kami, special issue is made only of Susanoo no mikoto. In regard to this question, Norinaga responds indirectly with the speculation that "Susanoo no mikoto was an evil kami since the stench in his [Izanagi's] nose was deep and pervasive, and could not be diminished"XXX (Zenshû 9:286). While the logic is strained, Norinaga's explanation can be taken as a tentative apologetic.15

Magatsubi no kami, then, was the first kami to appear in the Central Land as a kami generated from the pollution of the land of Yomi, and for that reason he is said to be the original and chief instigator of evil. This much can be understood. But then, Norinaga states in Tômonroku,

All things in heaven and earth are the august workings of the kami, and since there is no difference (in this matter) between Japan and foreign lands, regardless what country's kami they be, their evil deeds are, one and all, the august mind of Magatsubi no kami (Zenshû 1:539 emphasis added).

And again in Tamakushige,

Those deities called evil kami [ashikikami] . . . (are) those which perform manifold kinds of iniquity and evil in accordance with the august spirit [mitama[Glossary: mitama]] of the kami called Magatsubi no kami (Zenshû 8:315; emphasis added).

What is the rationale for this synthesis, or convergence of all evil and wrongdoing in Magatsubi no kami? Does it have a theological basis? These questions form the next issue we must confront. As I noted earlier, Norinaga states that all the happenings of this world are due to the august spirit [mitama] of Musubi no kami. If so, then the actions of Magatsubi are likewise due to the august spirit of Musubi. Norinaga's thought and ideation display this constant orientation toward a reduction of all into one. And this trend is related to the "all-in-one" [ichi soku ta] theory of medieval theology, which was influenced by Buddhism, and beyond it, by Indian patterns of thought and logic. As a result, I have fundamental doubts as to whether this kind of reasoning can be called "Shinto."

But let me postpone this problem until our discussion of items [5] and [14]. What is directly at issue at this point is the understanding of kami, but from a somewhat different perspective. Namely, note the emphases which I added to the two passages quoted above; the first is from Norinaga's Tômonroku, in which he stated that the actions of evil kami were entirely the result of the "august mind of Magatsubi no kami [Magatsubi no kami no migokoro." But on the other hand, in the Tamakushige, Norinaga discusses the same issue in the words, "in accordance with the august spirit [mitama ni yorite] [of Magatsubi]." The question here is whether the two passages indeed mean the same thing, and it is this question which forms the grounds for my own hesitation.

My reasoning here stems from the fact that the former passage unquestionably means "the activity [hataraki] of the kami," while as I argued earlier, the latter passage should be understood as meaning something different, namely actions resulting from a receipt of the spirit of Magatsubi no kami.XXXI It goes without saying that to be in receipt of the august spirit means to inherit and transmit that spirit. In that case, it would be necessary to demonstrate that all evil kami are in receipt of the august spirit of Magatsubi no kami, but Norinaga's statements nowhere provide that kind of decisive demonstration, nor is it possible to find such proof in the Shinto classics. If so, then these two passages must be called evidence of contradiction and error in Norinaga's thought.

Norinaga was fundamentally a functionalist who defined kami as any existence which "possesses rare and surpassing characteristics." But outside of item [12], where he argues that Magatsubi represented the "rough spirit" of Amaterasu ômikami, it is impossible to find grounds for his attribution of such enormous influence to Magatsubi. Our assessment as to the correctness of these points, however, will have to be postponed until our discussion of item [12] below.16

4. "National Polity" and the Theological Understanding of History

Broadly speaking, three factors lie behind the attention given to Norinaga's theory of Magatsubi no kami. First, as I have argued earlier, is his development of a theological claim to the effect that "an evil kami does exist." The second factor arises from the debate he stimulated in regard to that kami as it concerns the history of Japan, its present state and its future; in other words, the view of history, or religious theory of time. And third is his development of a theology of purification [harai]. In this section, I want to focus on the second of these elements (corresponding to items [4] and [13] in the outline presented earlier in section 2.)

Needless to say, Norinaga was not the first person to discuss these three factors. Limited to the second element, we must not forgot, for example, the fact that serious debates regarding the understanding of time had already developed from the end of the ancient into the medieval periods, in response to the dissemination of the Buddhist teaching of mappô [Final Age of the Dharma]. While there is no need to trace the background of that debate here, it may still be significant, when attempting to place Norinaga's thought within the history of National Learning, to briefly consider whether in fact his immediate predecessors Kada no Azumamaro and Kamo no Mabuchi possessed a perspective regarding, or concern with the issue. As a result, let me begin from that point.

In his Jindai kikigaki, Azumamaro speaks of the origin of the Way, saying, "In the ancient tongue since the Divine Age, there is talk about the establishment of the country, but the ancient tongue nowhere speaks about the establishment of Heaven; this is what we make the fundament of Shinto," and "Heaven has existed since the beginning, so it has no `establishment.'" Azumamaro thus seeks for a universal principle in this beginningless, endless quality of Heaven. He goes on to offer his opinion that "Heaven has no shape, with the result that the fundament of the Way, the fundament of human beings, and the fundament of the nation are all understood to be Heaven."

On the other hand, and in contradiction to this monistic view of Shinto, Azumamaro also argues that the disposition of Heaven is good while that of the land is evil, from which he concludes that the legendary belief in the "descent of the heavenly grandchild"XXXII is the original event, the divine episode establishing the discrimination of good and evil, right and wrong, truth and false, lord and vassal, superior and inferior.XXXIII

Of necessity, Azumamaro's view of history of must have developed from this kind of understanding of myth (regardless of the contradictory logic at its base). But unfortunately, he devoted his greatest efforts to interpreting the Nihon shoki's "divine-age chapters" [jindaikan] as an edificatory tract by Prince Toneri,XXXIV thus asserting that its significance was limited to the period in which he lived, and that it had nothing of relevance for the present age. Or if he did have other interests, he apparently did not have sufficient time to express them. In any event, the ultimate result was that his theology developed in a direction entirely different from Norinaga's, at least as regards this issue.

What then of Kamo no Mabuchi, who exerted direct influence on Norinaga's thought? On this issue, we have Mabuchi's works and biographies such as Niimanabi [Studies for the novitiate], Kokuikô[Glossary: kokuiko] [Thoughts on the meaning of the nation], Agatai shokan [Letters of Mabuchi], and Agatai shûgenroku [Collected sayings of Mabuchi], and studies of his works have already been made by Sasaki Nobutsuna, Koyama Tadashi, and Inoue Yutaka, with the result that there should be no need for me to provide further historical documentation here. Let me focus only on those parts of the debate relevant to Mabuchi's relation to Norinaga, in particular as regards the question of the originality or novelty of Norinaga's thought.

According to Mabuchi,

(1) Until the Nara period, the Japanese emperors were extraordinary leaders whose chief role was to be found in their "martial" status.

(2) The transmission of Confucianism and Buddhism, however, introduced an effeminate trend which led to degeneracy, also resulting in a decline of the imperial prestige.

(3) In contrast, the stance of the Tokugawa regime of shoguns has been one of reverence toward the native deities and of a promotion of the martial spirit, and it has already achieved a partial "restoration of the ancient order" [fukko], which advocates of the "Ancient Way" (kodô) long for. What remains lacking is the spirit and culture of "courtly elegance" [miyabi], and I am advocating the Ancient Way for the purpose of that ancient restoration.

(4) Viewed in light of the eternity of heaven and earth, the interval which has passed since foreign ways caused a decline in Japan's Ancient Way represent an insignificantly short span.

(5) If my views were adopted, a complete restoration of the ancient order would not be beyond the realm of possibility. But I am now old and without longings, so I must remain content with the knowledge that this is a world whose final outcome cannot be foreseen.

In short, the status of the Japanese imperial house, the existence of the emperor --- and in turn, the theory of the national polity [kokutai] --- were indispensable elements in the consideration of Japanese history, not only for nativists, but for all intellectuals in the Japanese style. And neither Mabuchi nor Norinaga were exceptions in this regard. On the other hand, when viewed from the perspective of the factors described above, the differences between the two thinkers become equally clear.

Just how did Norinaga view the upheavals in Japanese history, as they related to the national polity and Shinto? In his Maganohire, Ichikawa Tadasu (also known as Kakumei, 1740-1795) argued, "The leader of the MononobeXXXV despised the Buddha, and finally clashed with Shôtoku Taishi[Glossary: shotoku_taishi] for that reason, but one never hears of anyone, whether among the court or the people, who reproached the way of the Sage [Confucious] as dubious, and would have suppressed it on that account."XXXVI In response, Norinaga argues,

While the Mononobe did not disdain Confucianism, and while it was not scorned by the court or the people, was that not because the minds of all the people of the time were misled by Magatsubi no kami? So while the Mononobe happened to disdain Buddhism and were eventually defeated by Shôtoku Taishi, the result was that the way of the Buddha steadily spread from that time on, and that, too, was the work of Magatsubi no kami.XXXVII

Norinaga's pupil Kurita Hijimaro (1737-1811) similarly suggested that even if "the welcoming of the Buddha was the work of the Magatsubi no kami," it was wrong to assume that Magatsubi no kami caused the curses sent by the BuddhaXXXVIII as seen in those chapters of Nihon shoki regarding Emperors Kinmei and Bidatsu. Here, Norinaga responds,

Since we have already witnessed the works of the august mind of Magatsubi no kami, why should anyone doubt that the curses of the Buddha are any different? The fact that a variety of spirit wonders occur in the way of the Buddha is also the work of kami, so there is no reason for doubt.XXXIX

Or again, Norinaga responds to continuing interrogation by Kurita with the words, "The so-called Sage of China [Confucius] was also a kami" (Zenshû 1:544), and "Men like [the Buddhist saint] Kûkai were kami, and all other dubious events as well, whatever they may be, have their origin, without doubt, as the activity of Magatsubi no kami" (Zenshû 1:544).

In short, Norinaga's thought, and his interpretative posture toward the events of history remain consistent and unchanged. Namely, as I pointed out in the early sections of this paper, his is a firm confidence that the events and things of this world are, one and all, manifestations of the mind of the kami, and of those events, the disasters, evils, unhappiness and other untoward events fundamentally not in accord with Japanese national polity are nothing other than the workings of Magatsubi no kami.

From the perspective of a critic, Norinaga's position was no doubt a simplistic understanding of history,17 and in fact, the vast majority of criticism directed at Norinaga's theology to date has focused on this aspect of his thought. As a result, we must next inquire whether that criticism represents a proper assessment of Norinaga's faith, or whether, indeed, his understanding of history can stand as a legitimate Shinto theology.

But first, we must confront a mistake or prejudice common to those writers who subsume the entirety of nativist Shinto theory under the rubric "Restoration Shinto" (fukko Shintô[Glossary: fukko_shinto]). The misunderstanding involved here is the claim that Norinaga held to a belief in so-called "historical decline," within which the ancient pre-Buddhist period was valorized, while all later ages naturally represented a degeneration.18 But such a claim indicates an egregious ignorance either of Shinto, or of Norinaga. Any reading of the Japanese myths and their lack of an absolute deity makes it clear that Motoori did not idealize nor absolutize the divine age or any other era. His basic stance is expressed in the Kuzubana, where he writes, "Since Magatsubi no kami existed, how could even the age of the kami have been without evil?" (Zenshû 8:135).

As a result, he concludes in the Tamakushige,

When one attempts to return to the Ancient Way by rectifying both the highest ceremonies of government [matsurigoto] and the lowest rites in such a way as to force them into the mold of those of the ancient age, one goes against the august will of the kami for that time, and on the contrary, makes it even more difficult to realize the true significance of the Way (Zenshû 8:322).

And that is not the end of the matter. It may be true that the examples raised are trivial, but in section 973 of the Tamakatsuma, he adds that

There is much of later ages which is superior to the ancient period, and among the manifold things and events as well . . . there are many things which exist now which did not exist then, and things which were bad in the ancient period but which have now become good (Zenshû 1:436).

On the other hand, in the Kuzubana he admittedly says that "Since the late ancient times, even the unlettered farmers have lost their pureness of mind [magokoro], and most now possess the mind of foreign lands (Zenshû 8:154)." But,

The imperial court has experienced its own vicissitudes from time to time, and that is originally as things should be, in accordance with the same principle that led to Amaterasu's hiding away in the rock cave of heaven. But even though the land's "perpetual night" resulted from an episode of disorder, it was presently restored once again to purity and light! Viewed from the eternity of the heavens and earth, the gradual decline from the late ancient period is naught but a passing moment (Zenshû 8:155).

Here, Norinaga expresses an understanding of history similar to Mabuchi's, and that understanding represents his ultimate intellectual reach. It should require no additional argument to establish that absolutely no basis exists for seeing in Norinaga's version of history a theory of decline similar to that of Christian eschatology or Buddhist mappô thought.

It goes without saying that the religious basis for Norinaga's optimistic vision of history was his belief in the existence of Amaterasu ômikami, and the increasing glory of Japan's uninterrupted imperial lineage. In Kojikiden, Norinaga states,

Even the Great Sun Goddess could not stand the rage of Susanoo no mikoto, and her light was obstructed for a time. In the same way, it is an unavoidable truth that wars and great evils should appear in the world, the root of them all proceeding from the pollution of the land of Yomi. But the August Light could not remain dimmed for long, and in the end, good was restored and the world was endlessly illumined once again, with the imperial descendant reigning over the realm and the imperial lineage unmoved to the end of ages eternal. It is this which forms the proper cast to our world (Zenshû 9:295).

The deep wells of Norinaga's faith in Amaterasu ômikami can be ascertained from the thirtieth chapter of Kojikiden, in those passages where he comments on the death of Emperor Chûai:XL

Oh, people of the world! People of the world! Think well on these things! Who within the realm, emperor or any other, can hope to live a day, or an hour, while rejecting the exalted and august mind of the Great Kami! How dreadful and awesome! (Zenshû 11:351)

Likewise in the forty-ninth section of the Tômonroku, he states,

Now, some two-thousand years have passed since the beginning of Buddhism, and more than one-thousand years have passed since its arrival in the imperial land [Japan]. But no matter how it may flourish at present, that too, is the august mind of Magatsubi no kami. As a result, as I remarked in Kuzubana, there is no doubt that while one- or two-thousand years seems like an eternity, from the perspective of the ageless heavens and earth it is but a trifle, and should thus not be called a very long time. Likewise, it is impossible to know what kind of error-ridden teachings will arise hereafter, but no matter should they appear, let us continue to revere the True Way of Amaterasu ômikami, its vicissitudes notwithstanding, as it endures eternally and without cease (Zenshû 1:542).

On the other hand, Norinaga's view of history presents problems for Shinto religious faith due to its slight difference in nuance vis-à-vis the version developed in the ancient myths. While the events outlined in the mythos reflect a succession of anticipatory celebrations of the Heavenly kami, praising the process of establishing and fortifying the creation, Norinaga uses the mythos to interpret the real world as an interplay of good and evil, even while anticipating the ultimate victory of Musubi no kami.19

It is certain that Norinaga saw the ultimate basis for Japanese national polity in the legend of the "descent of the heavenly grandchild." In his Tamakushige, he writes,

The Divine Decree from the Great Kami [Amaterasu] states, "May the increasing prosperity of the imperial reign be endless with the heavens and earth,"XLI and it is precisely this Divine which constitutes the root and great origin of the Way (Zenshû 8:310).

Since the great origin of the way is immovable. . . the imperial court stands firm and without moving; is this not something truly beyond the realm of human powers? (Zenshû 8:317)

Again, in Kuzubana, he states,

The imperial land abides under the Divine Decree coeval with heaven and earth, and no matter the passing of ten-thousand reigns, the imperial dignity remains firmly unmoved, the lord as lord, and vassal as vassal (Zenshû 8:146).

These passages demonstrate the firm conviction of Norinaga's faith. But since those facts were fixed, I wonder whether he did not misapprehend (or belittle the significance of) that core of faith directed toward the everyday workings of the country implicit in the Divine Decree --- namely, the activity of creating and making firm the chaos of the Middle Land, which was described as having "many noxious kami which glittered with the light of fireflies and buzzed with the buzzing of flies, as well as grass and trees which had the power of speech."XLII Or again, one might even suggest that his posture toward the understanding of myth, based on the principle of "using the divine age in order to understand [current] human affairs"XLIII was an example of "losing sight of the forest for the trees." Above all else, however, I think that Norinaga's fundamental error was his misinterpretation of the legend of the primeval unfolding of heaven and earth,20 and his resulting valorization of Musubi no kami to the status of ultimate deity. But I must leave further comments on that issue until my final summary.

5. Kami and the Human (Human Responsibility and Worship)

Norinaga's Tamaboko hyakushu [One-hundred poems on the jeweled-spear Way] includes the following verse:

Is it because the
Kami of evil stops up
The ears of the people,
That while I speak words of truth,
There is not one that hears?
(Zenshû 18, 323)

In his inmost heart, Norinaga maintained this kind of hidden lament, even while outwardly eulogizing the Tokugawa regime. The deepness of his lament appears with even greater clarity when it is considered in light of his commentary (in Shokki rekichô shôshikai [Imperial edicts in the Shoku Nihongi[Glossary: shoku_nihongi]]) on Emperor Shômu's statement, "I enslave myself in service to the Three Treasures."XLIV There, Norinaga states,

Of course, it goes without saying this emperor revered Buddhism deeply, but even so, these words can in no wise be viewed as fit for a descendant of the heavenly kami. They are so discouraging and sad, and reading them aloud makes me even fuller of despondency and dismay, that I must here omit their Japanese pronunciation. Anyone with a heart should merely close his eyes and pass over these several words (Zenshû 7:273).

Needless to say, Buddhist-Shinto syncretism was the order of the day during the Tokugawa period in which Norinaga lived; everyone, from the imperial house to the shogun, daimyô, warriors and the common people, observed ancestral worship under the umbrella of the Buddhist religion. While social conditions were not yet ripe for a broad acceptance of the "Ancient Way" as expounded by Norinaga, he had opened his eyes to the "Way of the kami." How did he assess his current situation, and was there any possibility of convincing others of his views? According to his Uiyamabumi[Glossary: uiyamabumi],

The purport of the Ancient Way lies just in this, that it is the duty of those who are below to submit without question to the dictates of those who are currently in authority above, no matter whether good or evil. Since this is my understanding of things, in my house I observe the rites to ancestors, the memorial rites to buddhas and offerings to monks, just as they were handed down from my parents, no differently than as is conventional in the world. A scholar's duty, likewise, is to inquire of the Way and make it plain, without attempting to realize the Way according to his own private aims . . . even though it should be five-hundred or one-thousand years from now, my sole wish is to wait for that era at the fullness of time, when (the Way) will be adopted by the authorities above and promulgated throughout the realm (Zenshû 1:10-11).

Some political scientists born after the Meiji Restoration --- while occupying no more than the same academician's status as Norinaga --- have condemned his stance here, saying that he was unable to consider issues except from the position of the "ruled." Even some Shinto scholars have criticized his position, saying that Norinaga was unable to turn his gaze on the period in which he lived, and to the depths of the heart and faith, and that his attitude toward change was limited to conformity with his own contemporary era: "regardless of the nature of the feudal age in which he lived, his was simply too optimistic and passive a kind of Shinto."21 I, however, feel that such observations and criticisms are entirely unacceptable.

The crux of the matter probably hangs on our understanding and interpretation of Norinaga's "Shinto for the present time" [toki no Shintô] as expressed in the last chapter of his Tamakushige, where he says, "There is nothing else to be done than merely that which should be done at present" (Zenshû 8:324). The issue here is to consider just how that perspective is related to his faith regarding Magatsubi no kami.

In the point numbered [6] above, Norinaga expresses his view of life in the words, "Inasmuch as they receive birth through the spirit of Takamimusubi no kami, all people know and perform spontaneously that behavior appropriate to their status." This concept is in agreement with the following sentiment from Kuzubana, namely,

Of all those things which come into being from the august spirit of Musubi no kami, human beings are endowed by birth with an exceptional spirit, superior to that found in things like birds and insects. As a result, human mind and behavior are likewise far superior to the birds and insects (Zenshû 8:165).

But where can one find any assurance that "behavior appropriate to the status" of the individual will always accord with morality? Limited to his statement above, it would appear that Norinaga considered human nature to be "good" in a way far more optimistically than his mentor Mabuchi.22

On the other hand, as I discussed in the previous section, the foundation of Norinaga's theology was his historical vision outlined in the seventh chapter of Kojikiden, where he discusses the myths leading to Amaterasu's reign over the Plain of High Heaven. There, Norinaga comments on the unfolding of this myth in the train of events leading from the occurrence of evil deeds to the restoration of good, saying that humans must know "the truth of abstaining from evil and performing good" (Zenshû 9:295).

Of course, when viewed as an ethical norm, the "proper" (tôi) differs essentially from that which is "inevitable" (hitsuzen) or "natural" (shizen). The question is whether Norinaga believed that, without moral instruction, humans would spontaneously perform "that behavior appropriate to their status." It would appear we need to delve a step deeper into the issue at this point.

Let me return to the Naobi no mitama, which served as the starting point for my essay. There, we see that Norinaga claims that in Japan's ancient period, namely before the receipt of Chinese cultural influence, a Way of proper truth existed, and even though no explicit instruction was given in the Way, human minds and behavior were spontaneously true and pure. To this, Ichikawa Kakumei, whom I also quoted earlier, responded by arguing, "It cannot not be said that all actions in the ancient era were in accord with the pure mind (magokoro)."XLV Norinaga then offered the following rejoinder in his Kuzubana:

The "pure mind" means that mind which is naturally endowed at birth from the august spirit of Musubi no kami. In that mind there is both intelligence and stupidity, skill and incompetence, good and evil, and since all people in the realm are not one and the same, . . . when I say that the spread of foreign learning led to the losing of the pure mind of the people, . . . [I mean that] even those without learning were infected by it, so that [their sense of judgment] has ceased to abide within the naturally born mind. . .and as for the rest, whether for good or evil, their naturally born mind has been transformed. And that is what I mean by the loss of the pure mind (Zenshû 8:147).

Namely, according to to Norinaga's view of human nature, even if someone performed a "good act" while under the condition of "pure mind," it would not be because of the "innate good" of human nature, but rather, merely because the action --- on this occasion --- happened to be good. It would provide no necessary guarantee that the individual's subsequent actions would similarly be good. In short, there is no determinate good or evil to human nature.23

But in the passage from Kuzubana quoted earlier, Norinaga states that "human beings are endowed by birth with an exceptional spirit." It thus appears that Norinaga did not believe that people performed good and evil totally unaware. If this were not the case, the fact that the minds of the Japanese people had been transformed into a "foreign mind" could likewise be interpreted as the working of the "pure mind," and Norinaga's counterargument would lose its force.

At this point, we might recall the passage which Norinaga --- saying he had neglected to include it in Uiyamabumi --- inserted in section 785 of Tamakatsuma, to the effect that "one who would learn must choose his Way well, and immerse himself in it." In the same passage, we find Norinaga saying he believed people mistook the Way because of the "evil kami called `self' [ga]" (Zenshû 1:370).24 Just what was this "self"? The linguistic usage here is tricky, but I do not believe that he meant to indicate the self represented by the so-called workings of the Magatsubi no kami, nor the spirit received from that kami. On the contrary, I believe the usage involved is probably the extremely common one for "ego" still common today.

In chapter four of Kojikiden, Norinaga discusses the initial failure of Izanagi and Izanami to give birth to the land, and their subsequent inquiry to the heavenly deities.XLVI Regarding this passage, Norinaga says, "The great truth of the Way is to follow the command of the heavenly kami in all things, without any trace of individual self-will; if it was so even for these two great kami, how much more so must the common people of later ages act without self-will!" (Zenshû 9:180)

The "self" seen in the former passage from Uiyamabumi is likely equivalent to the "individual's self-will" [ono ga watakushi] noted in Kojikiden, namely, the posture of "complacent conceit" (sakashira) which Norinaga despised above all else. By taking care to avoid such conceit, individuals receive the august spirit of Musubi no kami, providing them with the "character" or "disposition" (sei) which in turn allows them to judge good and evil, and do that which is good. I think we can say that it is this posture that represents Norinaga's interpretation of the human condition.

Human nature itself is not good, since it includes within it "ego" or "complacent conceit." It is just for that reason that Norinaga says the mind of the Japanese people could be transformed into a "foreign mind." In short, the necessity of receiving the spirit of Naobi and performing worship of the kami is not merely in order to prevent being deceived by the words of Magatsubi no kami and to avoid its evil.XLVII

But in the passage from Kuzubana where Norinaga states that human beings have received a marvelous spirit from Musubi no kami, he also said,

All the good and evil of people's minds is also originally the activity of the kami, and since this is so, it is not necessarily the case that Magatsubi no kami only takes advantage of the evil in people's minds in order to increase evil" (Zenshû 8:139; emphasis added).

The italicized portion at the beginning of this passage creates an intense impression, and if one relies on this passage alone, it might be claimed with Tahara Tsuguo that "Norinaga's world represents the principle of absolute irresponsibility, where everything within the world is ultimately the work of the kami."XLVIII But little elaboration should be required to reveal the error in this kind of understanding of Norinaga. Human beings are not alone in this world, and the good and evil kami likewise alternate in their activity. Needless to say, Shinto's basic tenet is that human beings are the children or descendants of the kami,25 and even if they are not kami themselves, it is not as though they lack the ability to act independently. But at the same time, this world also includes a plethora of strong and mighty kami with powers far surpassing those of human beings, and even kami-like humans26 cannot succeed at everything by their own capacities alone. And all this results because Shinto does not possess the concept of any single, omniscient, omnipotent kami. In that sense, Tahara's statement to the effect that "everything within the world is ultimately the work of the kami" is certainly not in error, at least when viewed from the human perspective.

But as I argued earlier, humans have been endowed by Musubi no kami with a marvelous spirit, and with it possess the ability to discern good and evil. That Norinaga had concern for this concept is clearly evidenced in his statement itself; in the latter part of the passage quoted above, Norinaga qualifies his claim with "necessarily" [kanarazu shimo], and further limits the range of his argument with the expression "(not) only" [nomi ni arazu].XLIX The fact that so many scholars have been subject to the delusion of thinking they could accuse Norinaga of holding a theory of "human irresponsibility" is evidence merely of how incorrect they have been in their reading of him.

As noted earlier, from Norinaga's perspective, to be in accord with the Way means to do one's utmost in performing "that behavior appropriate to one's status." Originally, the "Way" is

that Way which, through the august spirit of Takamimusubi no kami, was inaugurated by the first two ancestral kami Izanagi no ôkami and Izanami no ôkami, and which was subsequently received, maintained, and passed down by Amaterasu ôkami" (Zenshû 9:57).

How, then, could one make the ominous claim that "one below" could realize the Way? And what on earth are those scholars reading who assert that it is impossible to find in Norinaga a practice of the Way? Moreover, the ability to perform evil comes both from outside (Magatsubi) and from inside (the selfish mind). What is at all strange about the posture of the believer who wholeheartedly stands in awe of the kami, (as reflected in item [7])? To interpret this posture as mere passivity is, on the contrary, more akin to the way the Buddhist theory of karma is mobilized as an excuse for one's current unhappiness, in order to take a passive attitude toward the future.

Norinaga proclaimed a "Shinto of the present time." He prayed to the kami each day that the fullness of time would come when the Way would be realized, while he himself undertook, as "that behavior appropriate to his status," his scholarly teaching of the Ancient Way [item [8]], not neglecting his family calling as a physician, and until the year before his death, traveling tirelessly to Kyoto to present lectures before nobles of the court. My own feeling is that those critics who smugly criticize Norinaga in regard to his position as "one below" practicing the way are blind in the fundamentals.

6. Amaterasu Ômikami and Magatsubi no Kami

At this point, we must discuss item [12], which expresses the most startling of Norinaga's theological claims regarding Magatsubi no kami, namely, that Amaterasu ômikami was equivalent to Magatsubi no kami. This claim is laid out in a comment regarding Yasomagatsubi no kami and Ômagatsubi no kami in the sixth chapter of Kojikiden. Let me quote the passage once again in full. Norinaga begins by saying,

Yaso refers to the "multitude" of evil, while Ô means "great"; in the Nihon shoki, the same characters for Ômagatsubi no kami are lacking, although it quotes "one writing" which provides the name Ôayatsubi no kami.

Following this passage, Norinaga states,

The Yamatohime no mikoto seiki describes the Aramatsuri no Miya, saying, "this enshrines the rough spirit (aramitama) of the Imperial Kami, which was the offspring of Izanagi no ôkami; its name is Yasomagatsubi no kami, also called Seoritsu-hime no kami." While a spurious document, this work suggests that the kami in question is the rough spirit of the Imperial Deity of Ise, and as I discuss below, this suggestion should likely be considered a transmission from ancient legend. Further, the fact that Seoritsu-hime is given as another name for this kami should be viewed in conjunction with the preceding concept.

Now, all the evil and malfeasance within the world stems originally from the spirit of Magatsubi no kami, as I shall describe in detail below(Zenshû 9:272).

The Yamatohime no mikoto seiki was one of the "five books" [gobusho] of so-called Ise Shinto,L although this passage makes it clear that Norinaga was aware of the spurious nature of the work. At the same time, he nonetheless considered the passage quoted above to be special, and adopted it as a faithful transmission of ancient legend. He must have had some reason, some basis for maintaining his position regarding this passage, although he does not state that reason explicitly; that fact thus makes it more difficult for the reader to form a judgment on the issue. As a result, I want to attempt an analysis of the contents suggested by this brief passage.

First, the Ôayatsubi no kami noted in the first passage is, as Norinaga states, found in "one writing" quoted in that part of the Nihon shoki dealing with the birth of the children of Izanagi.LI In fact, Norinaga's first discussion of kami of purification in Kojikiden is found in chapter five, where he deals with the "ten kami" first produced by Izanagi and Izanami (see item [10] above). There, he also quotes the same "one writing" from the Nihon shoki, together with the Ôharai no kotoba, discussing the relationship between the three works with the remark, "As a result, these ten kami originally correspond to the deities noted `in one writing' [of the Nihon shoki], and which were produced in the process of [Izanagi's] earlier purification, but the accounts have become confused, and the Kojiki combines this account and that account" (Zenshû 9:204). Needless to say, it is not my purpose here to discuss the significance of this entire passage, but in commenting on Ôyabiko no kami, the sixth of the ten kami produced, Norinaga notes that

The reason we can say this kami is the same as Ôayatsubi no kami is because it was common in ancient custom to omit the "A" in Ôaya so as to read it "Ôya" . . . and tsu is a particle which it was customary to omit. Then, that this Aya means maga can be discerned from the fact that it is included in words like ayamatsu [error], or hito o ayamuru [to kill or do harm to a person], while "to have an obstruction" is expressed in the vernacular as aya no aru, or as wayaku, and all these words include the common element of a mind of evil (Zenshû 9:205).

In other words, Norinaga states that while Ôayatsubi no kami is mentioned in the legendary material of the Nihon shoki, it is equivalent to the Ôyabiko no kami in the Kojiki, which in turn is equivalent to Ômagatsubi no kami, a deity omitted from the Nihon shoki.

Norinaga may have been correct in his philological analyses. But the Ôyabiko no kami noted in the Kojiki was said to have been "born" [umareta] from the two deities Izanagi and Izanami, while Magatsubi no kami is described has having "become" [nari] as a product of the pollution of Yomi. I feel most doubtful whether this difference can be explained away as a mere confusion in the legendary record.

Moreover, the "one writing" quoted in Nihon shoki states that after generating Ônaobi no kami, Izanagi entered the water of lustration again, and blew out Sokotsuchi no mikoto, after which he left the water and blew out again, finally producing Ôayatsubi no kami. When considering the respective attributes of Magatsubi no kami and Naobi no kami, if this alternate tradition from the Nihon shoki were adopted with its reversal of the order of birth of these two deities, would it not result in the collapse of Norinaga's own theology? Why, then, did Norinaga not embrace any doubts regarding the serious significance of these two accounts, deliberately identifying Ôayatsubi with Magatsubi no kami?

When quoting Norinaga's comment regarding Ôyabiko no kami earlier, I omitted the final portion, namely, "This is also the deity which appears afterwards, called Ôyabiko no kami of the Land of Ki(i),LII which I discuss later . . ." (Zenshû 9:205). As a matter of procedure, it should be necessary to confirm what he says about this passage. Norinaga claims that the deity Ôyabiko no kami refers to the deity by the same name in the Land of Ki(i), to whose care Ônamuchi no kamiLIII was sent by his mother to avoid harm from his eighty elder brothers. In his commentary to that later section of the Kojiki, Norinaga states that, "This kami [Ôyabiko no kami] is the same as Isotakeru no kami,"LIV and "Since this name should be discussed in conjunction with the event of lustration, I take it up in the next section regarding Suseri-bime" (Zenshû, 9:442-443).

Norinaga's argument here is highly convoluted, but let me attempt to follow his train of thought. The passage in question from Kojikiden is accompanied by the following commentary:

The reason this discussion is related to lustration is because the Great Liturgy of Purification [Ôharai no kotoba] states that "the goddess Haya-Sasurahime, who dwells in the root world, the underworld, shall take them [the sins], and wandering off, lose them." Namely, this goddess SuseriLV must be the same as Sasurahi . . . since they dwell in the underworld, [their descriptions] match well.

Well then, Ônamuchi no kami met with various trials from the eighty kami; while the pollutions of Yomi, which stemmed from his distant ancestor Susanoo no mikoto, had already been expunged, a remainder was still left, and it found its way to this place. Here, through the attentions of the goddess [Suseri], he avoided his tribulations, attaining great benefit and at last being restored to his valor. This was just because the goddess was one who takes sins and evils, wanders off with, and loses themLVI (Zenshû 445-446).

Then Norinaga begins again,

The Ôyabiko no kami of the Land of Ki(i) above is likewise a name associated with [Izanagi's] lustration, since just when the persecution of the eighty kami reached its culmination, it then changed to proceed toward good, and [Ônamuchi no kami] was sent to the place of this kami [Ôyabiko] in an alternation between good and evil. It is in accordance with this same principle that we know that Magatsubi no kami (evil) is equivalent to the rough spirit of Amaterasu ômikami (good), who was produced afterwards (Zenshû 9:446).

As presented already in chapter seven of Kojikiden, Norinaga's view of the historical alternation of good and evil is one element in his theology, and we have no need of pursuing the issue further here. The problem is the fact that he states that the Ôyabiko no kami of the Land of Ki(i) [mentioned in the Nihon shoki] is "a name associated with [Izanagi's] lustration." What can he mean by this? Norinaga's expression is somewhat ambiguous, but if he meant to say that this kami was the same as the Ôyabiko of the Kojiki, it would be directly equivalent to Ômagatsubi no kami. And naturally, since Ôyabiko of the Land of Ki(i) corresponds to Susanoo no mikoto's child Isotakeru no mikoto, it would mean that Ômagatsubi no kami was the child of Susanoo. This is simply too much to accept, since it would be equivalent to negating the entire legendary transmission found in the Kojiki. Surely Norinaga would not have taken a position so extreme.

At the same time, it cannot be denied that Norinaga's understanding of kami involved the danger of just this kind of reasoning, namely, of equating Amaterasu's "rough spirit" not only with Yasomagatsubi no kami, but also with Seoritsu-hime no kami.

In the context of his definition of kami in chapter three of Kojikiden, Norinaga states that "since the word kami is a substantive [taigen], it merely points to the object itself, and does not imply [an evaluation of] its attributes or virtues" (Zenshû 9:126). Likewise, in the Tômonroku, he says, "The word kami as spoken in Japan is only a word for an actual existent [jitsubutsu], and it is never used to merely describe the formless ideal principle [ri] apart from the actually existing object" (Zenshû 1:535).27

But in his remarks on the concepts of "gentle spirit" [nigimitama[Glossary: nigimitama]] and "rough spirit" [aramitama], he says, "The Divine Age chapters of the Nihon shoki include the terms "spirit of blessing" [sakitama] and "mysterious spirit" [kushitama ], both of which are names referring to attributes of the nigimitama" (Zenshû 11:386). Further, "the fact that the spirit of the kami is expressed in this juxtaposition of two terms is meant merely as a way of indicating its attributes" (Zenshû 11:387).28 How are we to understand these statements?

The "rough spirit" of Amaterasu represents only the active working of Amaterasu's spirit, and it cannot be another, separate kami. In spite of which, Norinaga says that Amaterasu is herself both Yasomagatsubi no kami and Seoritsu-hime no kami. There is likely only one way this contradiction can be resolved, namely, by using Magatsubi no kami not as a proper noun to refer to a specific divine personality, but rather as a common noun referring to evil kami in general. And there is some evidence that Norinaga was potentially thinking along just those lines. He comments that Yaso refers to the "multitude" of evil, while Ô means "great," and when commenting on Magatsubi, he almost never prefixes the kami`s name with these two terms. Similar examples can be found as early as his work Isonokami sasamegoto, where he describes his beliefs regarding "rough deities" [araburu kami], and in the seventh chapter of Kojikiden, when he comments on the word "evil deity" [akushin]. Regarding this term, Norinaga states that "this should be read araburu kami" (Zenshû 9:300), thus hinting that deviant deities [jashin ] are equivalent to deviant spirits [jaki]. But without contradicting the description of the creation of the two deities [Amaterasu and Magatsubi] in the Kojiki, Norinaga's interpretation fails. In sum, it can only be assumed that Norinaga committed a fundamental error as the result of his acceptance of the account given in the spurious work Yamatohime no mikoto seiki.29

We must discuss one other element at this point, namely, the issue of the so-called "ambiguity" [ryôgisei]30 of the kami suggested in item [9]. There, I quoted a passage from the third chapter of Kojikiden, but a similar comment can be found in section 41 of Norinaga's Tômonroku, where he responds to Kurita Hijimaro's inquiry regarding the "kami of contagious disease." There, Norinaga states,

The beings called kami are all different from the likes of those beings called buddhas in Buddhism, or the Sages of Confucianism.31 As a result, even a being which is properly a "good kami" [zenshin] may, when provoked, become angered and visit people with affliction, while a noxious "evil kami" may, very rarely, do good (Zenshû 1:537-538).

Numerous commentators have used this statement in order to argue that Norinaga was contradicting himself, and that his view of Magatsubi as an evil kami was mistaken. In that context, Azuma Yoriko's use of the term "ambiguity" is not unrelated to this current of criticism. But is that understanding correct? In fact, Norinaga himself qualified his description of the negative acts of good kami by saying, "when provoked," and likewise qualified his description of the positive acts of evil kami by saying "very rarely." He does not claim that good kami become evil or that evil kami become good. If he admitted that kind of transformation, Norinaga's theory of Magatsubi no kami would have to take on an essentially different nature. We have already seen that he used the extremely reserved qualification, "It is not entirely inconceivable that they [evil deities] might bestow blessings on humans" (from chapter three of Kojikiden). In a sense, one might say that this expression, in fact, displays Norinaga's longing, or entreaty to evil kami, and simultaneously his awe and reverence of good kami.

Needless to say, Norinaga was not denying the existence of kami endowed with both attributes of good and evil. In a note to section 3 above, I have already quoted comments from Norinaga's Tamakatsuma regarding Homusubi no kami (see note 16); in that same passage, Norinaga himself states that "since it was produced at the boundary between the end of good things [yogoto] and the beginning of evil things [magagoto[Glossary: magagoto]], this kami was endowed with both good and evil" (Zenshû 1:147).

But Norinaga's opinion regarding that kami must be considered an exception. The Kojiki notes that Hayasusanoo no mikoto traveled to Suga of the land of Izumo in order to seek a place to build his palace, and when he arrived there, he remarked, "My august heart is made fresh." In regard to this passage, Norinaga's commentary states that this comment represents Susanoo's

feeling of being refreshed, as though his august heart had been washed clean . . . it does not refer so much to the good or evil of his heart as a whole, and it does not mean specifically that his heart had lost its evil nature and was transformed into the nature of good. As is so often the case, it is a vice of those scholars immersed in Chinese thought to interpret all things according to the Confucian and Buddhist concept of mind-heart, so that it is an extreme contrivance to interpret these words to mean that his heart was purified (harai). . .it should be said (rather) that he felt his heart was refreshed since his past pollution had finally been expunged (Zenshû 9:407-408).

Norinaga's position was that Susanoo mo mikoto was by fundamental nature a crafty kami of evil. But does not Norinaga's argument here contradict his own theory as expressed in the last part of item [9], namely that actions of deities "which may at first be thought evil, in fact turn out good, while those first thought to be good, may in fact turn out evil"? For example, Sagara Tôru quotes a similar statement in Norinaga's Tamakushige, commenting that "If this statement is taken to its logic conclusion, then it would seriously weaken Norinaga's own attempt to establish the existence of good kami and evil kami."LVII

But it appears that such criticism also involves a misinterpretation on Sagara's part. Norinaga's statement in fact asserts only that things which presently appear to be misfortune may in the future be reevaluated as having turned out bad, while the happiness of the present may likewise change at some time to unhappiness (evil). In other words, he is not saying that "good kami" turn into "evil kami" or that "evil kami" turn into "good kami," but that there is the possibility --- on the human side --- of an error in evaluating one's own condition. Even if one should in future review the events of one's past and judge them to have been fortunate, unhappiness remains unhappiness when it occurs, and Norinaga is not questioning the fact that such unhappiness has been brought about as the result of Magatsubi no kami. For example, in his Kuzubana , Norinaga asserts,

There are not two kinds of happiness, "genuine happiness" and "pseudo-happiness." And even if a good man disdains the happiness of the evil man, thinking in his heart that it is not genuine happiness, there is no distinction of genuine and false in the happiness experienced by the individual (Zenshû 8:146).

Norinaga never wavered in his belief in the existence of evil kami. That belief was based on their clear presence in the Shinto classics, and the fact that it is impossible to deny the real presence of human unhappiness and evil in the world.

Conclusion: "Monotheistic Integration" or "Polytheistic Harmony"?

In item [14], Norinaga argues that "heaven and earth are of one fabric," and that there is "but one true Way." These assertions are in agreement with his insistence on universal truth, as expressed in section 45 of Tômonroku, where he states,

All things in heaven and earth are the august workings of the kami, and since there is no difference [in this matter] between Japan and foreign lands, no matter they be kami of what country, evil deeds are, one and all, [the results of ] the august mind of Magatsubi no kami (Zenshû 1:539).

The problem arises when this train of thought becomes linked to the attributes of Musubi no kami, as quoted at the beginning of section 3 above (see also item [5]). In particular, Norinaga says in chapter three of Kojikiden that

This great kami is recorded as being two kami in Kojiki, but the two never appear together; they appear only singularly, at times Takamimusubi no kami, and at other times Kamimusubi no kami. While their names are different, it would seem they are one and the same. So then, these two kami appear as one, and just when they are thought to be one, they are two; the unease of their distinction must spring from a very deep source (Zenshû 9:130-1).

In short, is it not possible to detect in his thought here the appearance of a theory of monistic truth? And his equation of the rough spirit of Amaterasu ômikami with Magatsubi no kami can be taken as the most concise --- and symbolic --- testimony to that tendency.

But Shinto did not adopt a doctrine of "singularity," and Norinaga likewise never embarked into the realm of faith in a solitary deity. Additional evidence for his stance can be adduced from his commentary to the Kojiki account of creation. The Kojiki records that, after initially failing to give birth to the land, Izanagi and Izanami made inquiry of the heavenly kami, in response to which a divination was performed to determine the reason for their procreative failure. Norinaga's comments are found in chapter four of Kojikiden, where he states,

Some people have voiced skepticism as to what [other] kami`s instruction could be sought in response to a divination performed by the heavenly kami, but such [skepticism] follows the manner of Chinese thought, and is not in accord with the attitude of the ancient period (Zenshû 9:182).LVIII

Norinaga assumed the universal nature of truth, but he was no believer in a sole, unitary truth. As Sonoda Minoru has pointed out,LIX even since around the period of his writing Genji monogatari tama no ogushi, Norinaga had argued for a theory of particularistic truth, saying that "China is China, Japan is Japan; now is now, and the past is the past," and that there were different "times and ages, individual capacities and conditions, lands and places, each with its own world" (Zenshû 4:238, 239). Shinto crumbles when its polytheism is denied.

As I noted at the end of section 4, Norinaga inclined toward a train of thought within which virtually everything in this world had been determined through the design of Musubi no kami. In turn, that source of that train of thought was his error, manifest in chapter three of Kojikiden, of assuming that the three kami of creationLX had "come to be even before the heavens and earth" (Zenshû 9:132). Unfortunately, Norinaga never uncovered the distinction between kami which "became" [naru] and those which had been "born" [umareru],32 despite the fact that he certainly recognized the relative independence of their particular beings.

In conclusion, I suggest that the divine will which was demonstrated through the heavenly divination performed in Kojiki's account of Izanagi and Izanami --- and regarding which Norinaga refused to speculate --- was not the will of a hidden, solitary deity, an absolute god transcending both humans and the existing world. Rather, it should properly be interpreted as the august will of the collective kami of heaven.


1. For example, even Ono Sokyô, who lamented the dormant state of Shinto studies, adopted a drastic position based largely on this perspective in order to dismiss the work of these two forerunners, but his argument is almost too neatly structured, and fails to fully convince or satisfy anyone with a scholarly concern for Shinto. See his "Norinaga no Kokugaku to Atsutane no Kokugaku" [The National Learning of Norinaga and Atsutane], Kokugakuin zasshi (November, 1966).

2. The concept of historical theology [rekishi shingaku ] has not necessarily yet achieved a stable place even among students of Shinto. But I want to avoid that specific controversy here, and tentatively use the concept with the following meaning: "historical theology" refers to the theological enterprise of a specific historical period, and also to the subsequent theological activity involved in critically evaluating that theology from the perspective of systematic theology as practiced in the present.

3. Shirai Eiji, Chief Priest at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangû in Kamakura and President of the Association of Shinto Shrines has admitted that he himself uses the expression "that there be no evil [magagoto] of Yasomagatsubi," in Shosai norito senshû [Collected liturgical prayers for various ritual occasions] (Tokyo: Jinja Shinpôsha), and moreover, that the names magagami [evil deity] and Yasomagatsubi no kami are almost always used during actual shrine rituals as euphemisms for "evil" [magagoto]. See his "Magatsubi rongi no yukue" [The direction of debate about Magatsubi], Kokugakuin Daigaku Nihon Bunka Kenkyûshohô 4:4, 1967.

4. When one considers that since its first appearance, the Nihon shoki has been treated as Japan's official history par excellence and has thus deeply permeated the attitudes of Japanese intellectuals, and further that it describes Susanoo no mikoto by saying "this kami was violently evil," and that it reports that Amaterasu said of Tsukiyomi no mikoto, "You are an evil kami," and that it speaks of chihayaburu ashiki no kami ["deities of exceeding violence and evil"] as well as numerous other noxious kami, it is not hard to conclude that Nishida Nagao's theory of Shinto, based on the assertion that "there could be no evil deities among the kami," is hampered by its own all-too conscious designs. See his "Shintô ni okeru tsumi no mondai" [The problem of sin in Shinto], Nihon Bunka Kenkyûshohô 1:6 (December 25, 1964), 1.

5. This letter is quoted in its entirety in the commentary by Usuda Jingorô to Motoori Norinaga shû [the Motoori Norinaga collection], Kokugaku Taikei [Collected writings on National Learning], vol. 3 (Chiheisha, 1943). Usuda points out (89-90) that "the noteworthy issue of this letter is that it already reveals Motoori's faith in Naobi no kami and Magatsubi no kami at a point six years before his writing of Naobi no mitama."

6. In section 79 of his Isonokami sasamegoto, in which he discusses the power of poetry, Norinaga states that "all things between heaven and earth, whether of good or evil, arise from the august mind of the kami. And even when manifold ills arise and allow no peace to those high or low, offering worship to sooth the august mind of the rough kami spontaneously produces a diminution and rectification of those ills, making them serene, and it is this power [of matsuri[Glossary: matsuri]] which, even without effort, makes one feel an emotive response to the kami`s presence." (Motoori Norinaga zenshû [The complete works of Motoori Norinaga], Vol. 2 (Chikuma Shobô), 166. Hereafter cited as Zenshû.

Likewise, in section 85 of the same work Norinaga states that "the mind of the kami cannot be fathomed by the human mind, whether in matters of good or evil. And since all things within heaven and earth proceed from the august mind of the kami, and are the august work of the kami . . . our august emperor . . . submits all things to the the august mind of the kami and gives worship in all things, and in the same manner, all people under heaven make their mind one with his [the emperor's] great august mind, yielding in submission to its will. It is this which is called the Way of the kami" (Zenshû 2:175).

These early passages already reveal the clear contours of Norinaga's later theology. At the same time, his ideas proceed here no further than comments on "rough deities" and "kami with evil minds," and Norinaga does not take up the concept of Magatsubi no kami. Needless to say, that faith must wait until Norinaga's later studies on the Kojiki.

7. By way of reminder, let me quote the relevant passage here:

In general, kami refers first to the manifold kami in heaven and earth as described in the ancient classics, as well as to the spirits (mitama) dwelling in the shrines which offer worship to the same. And it further refers to things --- people of course, but also birds, beasts, grass and trees, the ocean and mountains, as well as any other beings --- which possess superlativepower not normally found in this world. "Superlative" here means not only superior in nobility, goodness, or valor, since thingsevil and uncanny as well, if they inspire unusual awe, are also called kami (Zenshû 9:125).

8. Since Muraoka Tsunetsugu made this claim in 1928 (Motoori Norinaga [Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten]), it has been supported by the two well-known scholars Kôno Seizô and Sasaki Nobutsuna, as well as by Sonoda Minoru, Watanabe Masakazu, and Matsumoto Shigeru, while countering criticism has been offered only by the two scholars Saigô Nobutsuna and Asoya Masahiko.

The problem, of course, is the question of what constitutes "influence." Even Muraoka admits the difference in the contents of faith, namely, the religious experience involved. But he claims that "when one considers the essence of religion as human communion with an absolute being . . . Norinaga's religious consciousness is in agreement with faith in the original other-power vow as found in the Pure Land Sect. Specifically, they are alike in the sense that the relationship of self to the absolute being is comprehended as one of absolute trust and blessing" (Motoori Norinaga, 505-506).

In a number of senses, this passage expresses Muraoka's own religious understanding, but I would offer the following in response: there is no absolute being in Shinto, and Norinaga recognized that fact. First, no one can provide assurance regarding when the Magatsubi no kami will express its fury. Moreover, as Norinaga says, the sense of security found in Shinto is not that of the individual. The ultimate victory to be achieved through Amaterasu ômikami and Naobi no kami belongs not to specific individuals, but to the human community called Japan. How, then, can Norinaga's position be the same as that of Pure Land Buddhism? Further, just as the content of thought is the life blood of an intellectual, the crucial issue for a person of faith is the object of that faith. But if one then asserts that Norinaga was influenced by Buddhism merely since he had a similar degree of loyalty toward the content of his faith, the issue is reduced to nothing more than playing with words.

9. According to a quotation by Sasazuki Kiyomi (Motoori Norinaga no kenkyû [Studies on Motoori Norinaga] [Iwanami Shoten, 1944], 253), Aizawa Seishizai (1781-1863) was one of the first to criticize Norinaga's historical understanding, saying, "Is it not a pernicious theory that will devastate the Way of humanity?" This same line of criticism has been made in more recent years by Tahara Tsuguo, Morita Kônosuke, and Bitô Masahide, while Saigô Nobutsuna has been alone in showing sympathy for Norinaga's stance.

My own position is that the human was included within Norinaga's view of kami, although to be comprehensive, such a claim requires an analysis of Norinaga's overall view of human life, and also naturally involves the issue of Norinaga's own religious practice. Accordingly, while a portion of this theme is touched on in items [6], [7], and [8], I must leave consideration of the larger issue to another occasion.

10. In part one of Kuzubana, Norinaga states that "it is because evil kami exist in the world that good people have, on the contrary, experienced afflictions, while the vulgar have found good fortune on innumerable occasions since the ancient past." (Zenshû 8:141). As a concrete example, Norinaga notes that "Even Confucius, revered as a Sage, passed his life in unhappiness, and Yen Hui, called the "second Sage," not only was poverty-stricken, but also lived but a brief life, and the descendants of neither man flourished" (Zenshû 8:145).

As I already pointed out in my previous section outlining the items of debate, Norinaga viewed all things in the world as the doings of the kami, and from that perspective, it was an inevitability of religious logic to understand the unhappiness of the world as likewise resulting from the mind, or actions, of evil kami. This was by no means a deduction based on a prior assumption that evil kami exist. On the contrary, the fact that evil kami appear in the classics can be understood as merely having the effect of firming Norinaga's faith in this matter. In short, Norinaga's convergence on Magatsubi no kami can be called the result of his theological enterprise.

11. In chapter six of Kojikiden, Norinaga discusses the incidents from Magatsubi no kami to Izunome no kami, saying, "In ancient times, the manifold evil things were expressed by words like `dirty' [kitanashi] or `disorder' [maga]," and after presenting examples from the Kojiki, Nihon shoki, Shoku Nihon shoki senmyô and norito, he concludes, "All of these occasions called kitanashi or maga have the meaning of `evil' [ashiki]" (Zenshû 9:276). There is no need here, however, to make an issue of the etymological analysis of words like maga and ashiki.

12. No theological problem should be involved in considering death as a state with a negative value, since the Kojiki calls the Land of Yomi the "filthy land" [kitanashiki kuni], and the Nihon shoki likewise describes it as "a hideous and polluted land" [inashikome kitanaki tokoro]. Norinaga had no basis in the classics, however, for claiming that the land of death was an underground world of darkness.

13. When one considers the "life-force" at the core of the Shinto creed, and its communal production and growth within the "middle land" (the real world), it can be said that the crucial mission of old life is to transmit its role to new life. In that sense, the enduring existence of the particular in this world must, on the contrary, be viewed negatively.

Further, in her "Norinaga shingaku no kôzô" [The structure of Norinaga's theology] (Shisô No. 697, 1982), Azuma Yoriko borrows the theories of Takatori Masao (Shintô no seiritsu [The establishment of Shinto], and Doi Takuji regarding the interpretation of "heavenly sins" and "earthly sins" in the Ôharai kotoba in order to criticize Norinaga's understanding of death as being the product of later generations' consciousness of purity and pollution (in Takatori's theory, this was the influence of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Onmyôdô).

I cannot agree with Azuma's position, however, since I think, rather, that it is the sources on which she bases her argument that should be criticized. I have already expressed my views of Takatori's position in Asahi jyaanaru (June 8, 1979), and I outlined my views of the "heavenly sins" and "earthly sins" issue in "Shiki norito no shingaku" [The theology of the Engishiki norito] (in Shintô shisôshi kenkyû [Studies in Shinto thought], Anzu Motohiko Hakase Koki Shukugakai, 1983. Also included in Ueda Kenji, Shintô shingaku ronkô [Essays in Shinto theology], Tokyo: Taimeidô, 1991, 90-114). The fact, however, that "death" itself is not included in the sins listed [in the Engishiki] cannot be considered grounds for the claim that death was not viewed as maga (evil). It may well be that it was believed the concept of "death" alone was excessively abstract, and there far too many concrete types of death to list individually.

14. But even today, Norinaga's judgment in this matter is subject to numerous criticisms. For example, Kiyohara Sadao states that "to divide kami into categories of good and evil is contradictory to the principle that humans must not use their small intellects to make value judgments regarding the good or evil of the kami" (Kokugaku hattatsushi [History of the growth of National Learning], Daitôkaku, 1927, 184). Kiyohara's critique, however, is clearly the result of a misapprehension of Norinaga's theory and a lack of understanding of theology.

Okano Hirohiko (in Nihon Bunka Kenkyûshohô 4:2 [April 25, 1967] )introduces a quotation from Orikuchi Shinobu[Glossary: orikuchi_shinobu] to the effect that "there is not a shred of evidence that he [Norinaga] believed that this kami was an evil kami, or that this kami`s power was the origin of evil behavior" (from Dôtoku no hassei [The origins of morality], in Orikuchi Shinobu zenshû [Complete works of Orikuchi Shinobu], Chûô Kôronsha, 1967, 364). Orikuchi's statement, however, was based on his theory that Magatsubi no kami was the kami of poetry, and I will have to leave an evaluation of that claim to another time, within the context of an overall critique of Orikuchi's theories.

Further, the theory of Ômori Shirô proceeds by introducing the idea of a developmental history for the concept of kami, and while I find his theory highly interesting, his assertion that "the original significance of matsuri does not allow of worship directed toward an evil kami" should be understood as itself a theological statement, and moreover, one that conflicts directly with Norinaga's attitude of avoiding disaster by allaying or appeasing [the rough spirit] (see "Magatsuhi no kami[Glossary: magatsuhi_no_kami] no seichô" [The growth of Magatsuhi no kami], Nihon Bunka Kenkyûshohô, 5:2 [April 25, 1968], 8). Accordingly, his theory requires more verification for those cases not involving Magatsubi no kami. It is my understanding that to perform worshipful appeasement [of evil kami] is simultaneously a means of suppressing or restraining evil, and cannot be incongruent with the spirit and ritual of matsuri. Further, speaking from Norinaga's perspective, as is clear from item [9], human judgment in such matters is not absolute. Moreover, while Ômori considers evil deities to be pollution itself, it is impudent to suggest that we can speak of the ontological essence of the kami itself, inasmuch as the object of our worship is the divine spirit and, in particular, its activity.

15. However, in section 43 of Tômonroku, where he comments on the deity Gozu Tennô, Norinaga makes the following obscure statement: "The fact that Susanoo no mikoto is worshiped as a god of pestilence is because this kami`s roots were as a rough deity who caused vexation even to Amaterasu ômikami. And since he is the chief kami of all evil within the world, it is that origin which is worshiped; by offering appeasing worship to the root kami, the branch kami is likewise appeased and placated. This is the original significance. In the same way, in respect to its roots, the rough aspect of Susanoo no kami proceeds from the divine spirit of Magatsubi no kami" (Zenshû 1:539).

Likely based on her emphasis on folk religion, Azuma Yoriko criticizes Norinaga by saying that he "intentionally replaced Susanoo no mikoto by Magatsubi no kami" (Azuma, 121), but even though Susanoo no mikoto preserved relative independence in the matter of evil, he appeared after Magatsubi no kami, and inasmuch as even Amaterasu ômikami was unable to withstand his rage, it was no contradiction on Norinaga's part to assert that that rage proceeded from the divine spirit of Magatsubi no kami.

With respect to Susanoo no mikoto's relative independence in the matter of evil, Norinaga indicates his train of thought in chapter eight of Kojikiden, saying in particular that the issue of his rage "was a matter demanding discussion," going on to comment, "In the arrogance of his august mind at winning the trial by pledge, did not the evil mind which was his original disposition rise up again? . . . how could a pure mind change suddenly in this way?" (Zenshû 9:348). [With regard to the "trial by pledge, see Philippi, Kojiki, 75-79. --- Trans.]

16. Moreover, even if Magatsubi no kami was, as Norinaga believed, the chief instigator of all evil kami, from a theological perspective it must be asked why it was possible that evil could occur previous to the appearance of Magatsubi no kami --- for example, in the birth of Awajima and Hiruko[Glossary: hiruko] (or more correctly, Izanagi and Izanami's initial error in conjugal relations), or the death of Izanami herself. In response to this question, Norinaga notes in his comments on Homusubi no kami (in section 237 of Tamakatsuma; Zenshû 1:147) that "in Izanagi and Izanami's production of the land and the manifold kami up until the birth of Homusubi no kami, all things had been the good events of production, and there had been no evil, but with the birth of Homusubi no kami, Izanami no ôkami hid herself away, and this was the beginning of evil in the world." While he thus admits that sin had indeed occurred prior to the appearance of Magatsubi no kami, he goes on to add, "Admittedly, the goddesss spoke first, in contradiction of the rule, but her utterance, `ana ni yashi` was an expression of good, and even if the child was bad, the bearing was itself good, with the result that it cannot be properly called `evil' [magagoto]." He concludes, "If so, then he [Homusubi no kami], is merely the origin of the principle that the multifold things of the world can never be without some admixture of evil," thus suggesting his justification for item [13].

17. Perhaps the prototypical example of the difference between the perspective of the theologian and the intellectual historian is demonstrated in the handling of this issue by Koyasu Nobukuni (Norinaga to Atsutane no sekai [The world of Norinaga and Atsutane] [Chûô Kôronsha, 1977]). According to Koyasu, Norinaga's Magatsubi no kami was a methodological concept fraught with a critique of "Chinese ideas" [karagokoro]. It was likely an extension of this same train of thought that led Azuma (see note 13) to assert that "the intellectual significance of the concept of Magatsubi no kami . . .can be called a criticism of the Confucian theory of the Mandate of Heaven, which states that `the Way of Heaven recompenses good with blessing, and evil with disaster,' as well as the Buddhist doctrine of the retribution of karma" (Azuma, 112), and that "Norinaga's Magatsubi was "an abstract [kami] lacking the concrete qualities found in Susanoo." In turn, that was "for the simple reason that Norinaga, in order to erect a new theological edifice to counter Confucian thought, went so far as to ignore the position given [this deity] in the myths of Kojiki and Nihon shoki, thereby coercing the concept into serving as an explanatory mechanism for the evil and sin of this world" (ibid, 115).

I have no intention of entirely rejecting the concepts and utilitarian mode of understanding employed by intellectual historians, but at the same time, I cannot escape the impression that the above two scholars, while dealing with theological issues, do not understand the nature of the theological discipline, and have used the cause and effect of secular logic to make the subtle difference between faith and objective understanding an excessively clear-cut affair.

As I already noted in note 6 above, it is clear that Norinaga's faith regarding Magatsubi no kami was formed as a relatively early part of his overall Shinto thought, and was not something he devised for the purpose of theoretical debate. In fact, from Norinaga's perspective, the matter of this kami`s existence and the nature of his divine characteristics were the crucial elements determining both the historical flaws of the national polity lying at the core of Shinto, and the fundamental posture of irrational acceptance of human life and Nature. Based on the structure of his theology alone, it could not have been a tool employed for the sake of mere logical consistency. It bears adding that merely because something appears simple at first glance certainly does not mean that it is intellectually or religiously negligent.

18. For example, Morita Kônosuke claims that "the historical vision within National Learning is one which attempts to understand the progress of history, first, as the record of a process of decline, and which laments that the august realm of the ancients was spoiled by Chinese and Buddhist thought." He goes on to say that "National Learning is a discipline which sets up the divine age as the national ideal, and which attempts to see the realization of the divine age in the present world . . . . a discipline of pathos which attempts once more to summon up the divine age, which, with time, has steadily distanced itself from us" (Hirata Atsutane zenshû [Collected works of Hirata Atsutane], Geppô No. 8, 1977, 9-10). While I do not intend to deny the entirety of this critique or its general nuance, I cannot endorse it as a proper perception of National Learning. In all likelihood, this kind of fixed conception of National Learning is one produced after the Meiji period, and focused on the members of the Hirata school around the period of the Restoration. In any event, it can be called a bias which needs to be overthrown in popular perception.

19. The historian Bitô Masahide states that "if the concept of progress in history is a reflection of the conscious intent of human beings attempting to live as independent actors, then it is only natural that Motoori's vision of history, which attempted to eliminate that subjective activity, lacked the concept of progress" (Nihon shisô taikei Geppô 60. 1978, 5). Although Bitô's view differs from my own, I regard it with high interest. It is particularly noteworthy that Motoori valorized the Tokugawa regime even more lavishly than did Mabuchi, saying, "Is it not thus the blessing of blessings that we have now been favored to meet with an age of greatness rare even for the ancient period? And fundamentally, the fact that our present realm has been governed so felicitously is entirely due to the divine approval accorded to Azumateru kamu mioya no mikoto [a reference to the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu], who made his mind one with that of Amaterasu ômikami, rectifying the decline of the imperial descendant's court, raising it to greater and greater glory, and serving it with greater and greater reverence, acting in accord with the true way of the august ruler that subdues the realm." (Shindô [The way of the vassal], Zenshû 8:505-6).

The fact that this passage displays no hint of hesitation may also be a manifestation of his view of the alternation of good and evil in history.

20. With regard to this issue, see my "Shintô: sono sonzai-ronteki rikai e no kokoromi" --- [Toward an ontological understanding of Shinto], in Shintô shingaku: soshiki shingaku e no kokoromi --- [Shinto theology: a venture in systematic theology]. Tokyo: Taimeidô, 1986.

21. Matsumoto Sannosuke, based on a post-war mode of thinking, has achieved wide influence with his characterization of Norinaga's thought as "the mentality of the ruled." See his Kokugaku seiji shisô no kenkyû [Studies in the political thought of National Learning] (Tokyo: Miraisha, 1972). The Shintoist I specifically refer to here is Ono Sokyô ("Norinaga no Kokugaku to Atsutane no Kokugaku," 12).

Morita Kônosuke likewise states that "it is not necessarily appropriate to demand practicability [jissensei] from Norinaga's kind of National Learning" (Morita, 11), thus evincing the same general evaluation and criticism, though in a somewhat ambiguous way.

On the other hand, students of Norinaga like Sasazuki Kiyomi, who have attempted to find an integrated theme throughout his literary and intellectual positions, have said, for example, "In literature, he [Norinaga] observed the reality of human life, while in the Way he acquiesced compliantly to the reality of human life," and "In this way, rather than launching out on fruitless activity . . . he left all to the divine will, devoting his powers solely to the explication of the way of the kami" (Sasazuki, 255). In this way, Sasazuki muddies the water further by projecting his own role as observer onto Norinaga. In that sense, Saigô Nobutsuna's understanding is far more acceptable when he says, "Norinaga's life posture was a deliberate acceptance of reality" (Kokugaku no hihan [Critique of National Learning]. Tokyo: Miraisha, 1965, 287).

22. As is well known, in his Kokuikô, Mabuchi wrote that "to say that humans are different from the birds and beasts can be called self-congratulation on the part of the human, and condescension toward the other; [that kind of thought] is a habit among the Chinese. . . . In general, isn't it true that all things given life between heaven and earth are just vermin . . . I wonder whether humans shouldn't be called the worst evil of creation" (Kamo no Mabuchi zenshû [The complete works of Kamo no Mabuchi], Vol. 19, 11-12).

23. Yoshikawa Kôjirô offers this concept as one reason for paying tribute to Norinaga's thought, and while finding himself unable to submit to Norinaga's Magatsubi theology, he says, "Norinaga was the first to confront head-on the Confucian theory of `innate good,' and to overthrow it" ("Bunjaku no kachi" [The value of effeminacy], in Motoori Norinaga. Nihon Shisô Taikei. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1978, 594).

24. By way of reminder, let me quote the entire passage:

One aiming to be a scholar must first choose his master well, considering well the man's foundation and mode of instruction, and submitting to his tutelage on that basis.

In general, it is true that not only the man slow of understanding, but even he of innate intelligence will find his heart drawn naturally to the first teacher to whom he has submitted himself, and if the lineaments of that [teacher's] Way be poorly fashioned, [the student] will be unable to detect its errors. Even should he discover them later, he will find it impossible to discard the learning of many years, and with the evil kami of "self" standing at his shoulder, he will try unreasonably to defend that learning, with the upshot that he will achieve nothing good, living out his days in error --- there are many in the world who conduct themselves in this way, and so on.

25. It is understood that humans were born from the two kami Izanagi and Izanami as a result of their activity of producing the land, and commentary notes within the Kojiki and Nihon shoki indicate that the various kami were the ancestral deities of the early clans. The same tradition of belief can be ascertained from the Shinsen shôjiroku[Glossary: shinsen_shojiroku].

26. In his definition of kami within chapter three of Kojikiden, Norinaga states,

Of humans, it goes without saying that those called kami include, first of all, the successive generations of the most exalted, awe-inspiring emperors . . . In this way, there are succeeding levels of human kami who existed both long ago and at present; and there are a certain number of such human kami which, while not recognized throughout the entire realm, exist in each province, village, and house, each in accord with his station. Well then, the kami of the divine age were also mostly people of that time, and since all the people of that age were kami, it is called the "age of kami". . . (Zenshû 9:125).

27. Azuma Yoriko, likely in reference to this point, goes so far as to quote the opinions of Tachibana no Moribe [1781-1849] in order to develop the most peculiar argument that Norinaga's understanding "was out of touch with the common-sense concepts of his day" (Azuma, 105). Moribe's claims beside the point, Norinaga's argument concerns the fundamental ontology of kami, regardless of whether they are visible or not. In that context, it is irrelevant to bring into play theories based on early Western studies in anthropology or history of religions regarding the evolution of concepts of the soul.

28. The same kind of statement can also be found in section 25 of Tômonroku (Zenshû 1:530).

29. It must be admitted that the Kôtai Jingû gishikichô[Glossary: kotai_jingu_gishiki-cho] includes the expression, "One hall of the Aramatsuri no Miya. This is called the Aramitama no Miya of the Grand Shrine, and its form is that of a mirror" (in Shintô Taikei [Collected works of Shinto], Jingû-hen vol. I , 1979, 58). However, the entry for the building of the Aramatsuri no Miya-in found in fascicle 12 of Daijingû gishikige by Nakagawa Tsunetada states, "The name of the kami is variously Yasomagatsubi no kami, or Seoritsuhime no mikoto. If one talks about it enough, some logical reason can likely be found for such naming, but to attribute divine names in this fashion is not the ancient way." This passage is accompanied by a comment, "The ancient writings do not provide the kami`s name at this shrine, and the fact that a name is given in the `Five Books' [Gobusho] of the Gekû is the work of later writers" (Ise: Jingû Shichô, 1935, 450).

Namely, at the Grand Shrine around the same time as Norinaga (1775), Nakagawa Tsunetada was directing criticism at the so-called "Five Books of Shinto," one of which was the Yamatohime no mikoto seiki. While Norinaga was familiar with Nakagawa's work, it did not convince him to change his own theory.

30. The expression ryôgisei (ambiguity, polysemy) is adopted by Azuma Yoriko, and while I believe it is fundamentally mistaken when applied to Norinaga, I borrow it as a provisional device to introduce the subsequent discussion.

31. The reader may be confused when he recalls one of Norinaga's previous remarks from the same Tômonroku, namely, that "the Sages were kami" and "People like Kûkai were kami." For sake of reference, it should be noted that in conjunction with his previous remark, Norinaga states that "the word kami has broad meaning, and it includes many different sorts; while men like the [Chinese] Sages were kami, they were not kami in the fully proper sense, but kami who were men" (Zenshû 1:544). In Kuzubana, Norinaga likewise states that "While the kami of the divine age were humans, they were called kami since they had fully divine attributes. People who had no divine attributes but were mere humans were not called kami. But while my antagonist knows that kami were men, he does not know that [mere] men were not fully kami." These statements all follow the same trajectory, and confusion can easily result if the reader lacks a firm grounding in the Shinto concept of kami.

32. I believe that one original attribute of the Japanese people and Shinto is the fact that they find their subjective reverence for life and essence of value in particular existences. In turn, it is precisely the concept of faith in "becoming" kami which demonstrates that attribute, since it forms the most concise and apt expression of the Japanese people's understanding of existence, who would never have conceived of kami without the predication of given existents.

Translator's Notes

I. Originally published as "Magatsubi no kami kô: Motoori Norinaga no shingaku" --- Kokugaguin zasshi, no. 87, 3-4 (March 4, 1986). Reprinted with minor revisions in Shintô shingaku ronkô [Studies in Shinto theology]. Tokyo: Taimeidô, 1991, 115-154. To preserve the numbering of Ueda's original notes, I have moved his interlinear references to these Translator Notes, indicated by "Author."

II. Matsumoto Shigeru states that "In Norinaga's view, maga in ancient usage means every kind of evil or inauspiciousness and is identical with kegare (filth, pollution) or kitanashi (filthy). . . . in ancient times, maga, kegare, and kitanashi were identical and referred to `evil' (ashiki koto, magakoto) or `abomination' (tsumi) in an undifferentiated manner"; see his Motoori Norinaga (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1970), 98. Yasomagatsubi can thus be understood literally to mean "deity of eighty evils," where "eighty" is a trope for "myriad" or "manifold."

III. See Felicia Gressitt Bock, trans., Engi-Shiki: Procedures of the Engi Era (Tokyo: Sophia University, 1970 [Books 1-V] and 1972 [Books VI-X]).

IV. Nishida Nagao, "Saiban no kami to shite no Naobi, Magatsubi no ni-shin". [The two deities Naobi and Magatsubi as deities of judgment], Kokugakuin hôgaku , 5:2, 1967. --- Author.

V. This episode refers to the procreation of the deities Amaterasu ômikami, Tsukiyomi no mikoto, the "leech-child," and Susanoo no mikoto. See W.G. Aston, Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697 (London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1896, 1956), I:18-19; the sixth alternate version of the myth is found on pages 22-28.

VI. Festival of the Gates ("Mikado no matsuri"). See Donald L. Phillippi, Norito: A Translation of the Ancient Japanese Ritual Prayers (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 44.

VII. Kada no Azumamaro, Nihon shoki jindaikan-shô [Treatise on the divine age chapters of the Nihon shoki], Kada zenshû (1931), 6:156, 161. --- Author.

VIII. Kada zenshû, 32. --- Author

IX. Completed in the ninth month of 1746. See Terada Yasumasa, Kamo no Mabuchi: shôgai to gyôseki [The life and works of Kamo no Mabuchi], (Hamamatsu Shiseki Chôsa Kenshôkai, 1979), 273. --- Author.

X. Zoku Gunsho Ruijû Kanseikai, ed., Kamo no Mabuchi zenshû [The complete works of Kamo no Mabuchi] (1984), 7:76. --- Author.

XI. Norito-kô [A treatise on the norito]. Kamo no Mabuchi zenshû, 7:255. --- Author.

XII. See Jôfuku Isamu, Motoori Norinaga. Jinbutsu Sôsho (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kôbunkan, 1980), 289. --- Author.

XIII. These and subsequent parenthetical references to Zenshû represent the author's interlinear references to "volume:page" of Ôno Susumu, ed., Motoori Norinaga zenshû [The complete works of Motoori Norinaga], 9 vols (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobô, 1968).

XIV. Another name for Takamimusubi no kami, the kami of creativity and becoming.

XV. These three men led revolts against imperial forces and were instrumental in establishing the warrior governments of the Kamakura and Muromachi periods.

XVI. These two kami are the "kami of rectification," produced from Izanagi's lustration immediately following generation of the gods of disorder. See Shigeru Matsumoto, Motoori Norinaga, 98-9.

XVII. See Donald L. Philippi, Kojiki (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1968), 55. Motoori identifies Ôkoto oshio no kami with a deity called Yomotsu kotosakanoo no kami in an alternate "one writing" recorded within the Nihongi (see W.G. Aston, Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697 [London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1896, 1956], I:31); Motoori reads the name of this deity as Kototokenoo.

XVIII. See Philippi, Kojiki 65, especially note 13. As Philippi notes, the meaning of kotodowatashi is not entirely clear; both Philippi and Chamberlain interpret it as generally meaning "to part" or "divorce." See also Basil Hall Chamberlain, Kojiki, or Record of Ancient Matters (Kobe: J.L. Thompson & Co., Ltd., 1932), 44-45, note 21.

XIX. The Yamatohime no mikoto seiki is one of the so-called "Five Books of Shinto" (Shintô gobusho[Glossary: shinto_gobusho]). While claiming to be an ancient scripture, the work has long been recognized as having been authored in the Kamakura period by one of the Watarai priestly family at the Outer Shrine (Gekû) of Ise.

XX. The "Great Prayer of Purification" describes Seoritsu-hime no kami as a god of purification dwelling in the ocean; see Philippi, Norito, 48.

XXI. Amaterasu ômikami, Tsukuyomi no mikoto[Glossary: tsukuyomi_no_mikoto], and Takehaya Susanoo no mikoto . See Philippi, Kojiki, 70.

XII. In the passage in question, Motoori begins by noting that while people of the world attempt to understand the Divine Age on the basis of human knowledge, he uses the records of the Divine Age as a basis for understanding human events. Kojikiden, in Zenshû 9:294.

XXIII. Tômonroku (or Suzunoya tômonroku [A record of discussions] ca. 1777), Kuzubana [Arrowroot blossoms] ca. 1780), Tamakushige [Jeweled comb box] ca. 1786), Tamaboko hyakushu [One-hundred poems on the jeweled spear way] ca. 1786), and Tamakatsuma [Jeweled bamboo basket] ca. 1793-1801).

XXIV. The expression here translated as "issue" is nari-izuru (nari-ideru), an intransitive verb which can also be translated "to emanate," "to become," "to appear," or "to be born."

XXV. The issue here is a subtle one, based on Motoori's use of an infrequent reading for the character. (Ni) yorite (alt. (ni) yoru, (ni) yotte) has a broad range of usage, but generally means "as a result of," "by," or "through." In context, it can be used to indicate the directionality and source of a cause ("from"), subjection to a cause ("as a result of"), or reason for an action ("due to"). Here, Ueda's interpretation of Motoori is that all things "come to be" as direct recipients of, or possessors of the divine spirit, rather than simply as objects of creation produced by an action of the divine spirit. The distinction is crucial to Ueda's understanding of Motoori's ontology.

XXVI. See Philippi, Kojiki, 69.

XXVII. Cf. Aston, Nihongi, 26-7.

XVIII. Ibid, 26.

XXIX. Susanoo was one of the "three noble children" of Izanagi, produced in the final stages of his lustration (see above, notes V and XXI). The three were assigned to rule various parts of the world, although the realms to which they were assigned vary depending on the version of the myth. See Philippi, Kojiki, 70-71; Aston, Nihongi, 18-32.

XXX. This since Susanoo was produced when Izanagi blew his nose as part of his purifications.

XXXI. See above, note XXV.

XXXII. The descent of Amaterasu's grandson Ninigi no mikoto[Glossary: ninigi_no_mikoto] is viewed as the prototypical event in the founding of Japan. See Aston, Nihongi, 76ff.

XXXIII. Ueda Kenji, Kokugaku no kenkyû [Studies in National Learning] (Tokyo: Taimeidô, 1981), 197-200. --- Author.

XXXIV. The fifth son of Emperor Tenmu, Prince Toneri (673-735) acted as sponsor to the compilation of the Nihon shoki, completed in 720.

XXXV. The Mononobe were the leading military clan in ancient Japan. Opposing the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, they were crushed by the pro-Buddhism forces of the court, led by the Soga clan and the Prince Regent, Shôtoku Taishi.

XXVI. Ichikawa Kakumei, Maganohire ; in Washio Junkyô, ed., Nihon shisô tôsô shiryô [Historical materials on intellectual conflicts in Japan] (Tokyo: Meicho Shuppan, 1969), 165. --- Author.

XXVII. From Norinaga's Kuzubana (Zenshû 8:139) --- Author.

XXVIII. The curses here refer to pestilence and other disasters which occurred when Buddhist images were abandoned or treated with insufficient regard. See Aston, Nihongi II: 67, 102.

XXXIX. Tômonroku, in Zenshû 1:541. --- Author.

XL. According to the Kojiki, Emperor Chûai died after disregarding a divine oracle. See Philippi, Kojiki, 257-258.

XLI. See Sakamoto Tarô, et al., eds., Nihon shoki, Part I. Nihon koten bungaku taikei No. 67 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1967), 146-7 (Hereinafter cited as Nihon shoki). Also see Aston, Nihongi, 77.

XLII. Nihon shoki, 134-5. Also see Aston, Nihongi, 64.

XLIII. Kojikiden, in Zenshû 9:294; see above, note XXII.

XLIV. A reference to Buddhism. The Three Treasures are the Buddha, the Dharma (ultimate truth as reflected in the scriptures), and the Sangha (the assembly of monks).

XLV. Nihon shisô tôsô shiryô, 14. --- Author.

XLVI. After their initial failure at procreation, Izanagi and Izanami ascended to the Plain of Heaven and inquired of the gods there regarding the reason for their failure; they were then told to repeat the procedure correctly. See Philippi, Kojiki, 50-52. Motoori uses the passage to show that even great deities like Izanagi and Izanami must follow the injunctions of the heavenly kami precisely, without the introduction of any self-will or private motives.

XLVII. While somewhat obscure, Ueda's statement should be read in the context of his statement regarding receipt of the spirit of Musubi no kami in the immediately preceding passage. People (specifically, the Japanese) must receive the spirit of Musubi no kami and perform kami worship, in order to avoid the conceit which would prevent them from correctly discriminating good and evil, and thus to avoid taking on a "foreign mind."

XLVIII. Tahara Tsuguo, Motoori Norinaga (Tokyo: Kôdansha, 1968), 159. --- Author.

XLIX. The argument is somewhat convoluted, but revolves once again on the debate as to whether human nature is originally good or evil. According to Motoori, people who hold the position that human nature is original evil might claim that Magatsubi no kami merely takes advantage of evil already existing in the human mind. In contrast, Motoori argues that while this may occur, it is not necessarily the case, since even the evil in the human mind is ultimately the work of the kami.

L. A school of Shinto which arose at the Outer Shrine (Geku) of Ise during the Kamakura period, centering on the Watarai family of shrine priests; thus the alternate names "Gekû Shintô" or "Watarai Shinto".

LI. See Aston, Nihongi, 31.

LII. In historical times known as Kii Province. The Kojiki uses the character ki (tree, wood) to indicate this geographical area, while the province is later written as Kii. Motoori seizes upon this distinction in his philological attempt to identify Ôyabiko. See Zenshû 9:442-443.

LIII. Another name for Ôkuninushi no kami; for this story, see Philippi, Kojiki, 92, 96-7.

LIV. For Isotakeru, see Aston, Nihon shoki I:57-8. Motoori makes this association in part because the Nihon shoki refers to Isotakeru no mikoto as "the Great Deity who dwells in the Land of Kii."

LV. A daughter of Susanoo, Suseri-bime wed Ônamuchi and helped see him through the ordeals imposed by her father; for the story of her marriage to and protection of Ôkuninushi, see Philippi, Kojiki, 98ff. Norinaga's point here is that the two goddesses Suseri-bime and Sasurahime should be considered the same, based on philological analysis of their names (which Norinaga provides), as well as since they both are associated with the underworld.

LVI. Following his identification of Suseri with Sasurahi, Norinaga argues that when Ônamuchi no kami fled from Kii to the underworld (Ne no Kuni[Glossary: ne_no_kuni]), he was followed by a remainder of pollutions stemming from his distant ancestor Susanoo. The goddess Suseri, however, was able to remove those pollutions and save Ônamuchi precisely because, in the guise of Sasurahime, she was one who "wanders off and loses" (sasurahi such sins and evils.

LVII. Sagara Tôru, Motoori Norinaga (Tokyo: Tôkyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1978), 256. --- Author.

LVIII. Motoori concludes this passage by saying that, from the perspective of such skeptics, "the events of the divine age are wholly implausible. But since all such things go beyond human understanding, one must not approach them with such a mediocre attitude of complacent conceit, and rather accept the ancient account simply as it is." In other words, Motoori eschewed the attempt to undertake a critical commentary of the Kojiki involving speculation regarding the potential existence of a monotheistic deity, recommending instead that the ancient account merely be accepted humbly, "as is."

LIX. Sonoda Minoru, "Motoori Norinaga to sono shisô" [Motoori Norinaga and his thought], Shintô shûkyô no. 31, 1963, 141. --- Author.

LX. Refering to the three deities Ama no minakanushi no kami, Takamimusubi no kami, and Kamimusubi no kami, who were the first to come into being. See Philippi, Kojiki, 47.

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