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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Followers of the Tokugawa intellectual and literary movement known as “National Learning” (kokugaku 国学) sought to recover native forms of Japanese culture free from the influence of Confucianism and other foreign ideologies, which they claimed had corrupted the original harmony of ancient Japan. Ancient Japanese poetry played a central role for them because they believed it to be a repository of purely Japanese values and language. This chapter explores the role of poetry in National Learning scholars’ philosophical conceptions of human nature and interpersonal relations, arguing that these figures put emotional connections at the core of their conception of community and saw poetry as uniting people through its capacity to express and communicate emotions. It discusses how these scholars used Japanese poetry in their philology, seeing it as a means for learning both the ancient Japanese language and the underlying mindset from which ancient texts were produced.

Keywords: Confucianism, Japanese nationalism, Japanese poetry, Kamo no Mabuchi, Kokugaku, Motoori Norinaga, National Learning, Ogyū Sorai, waka, Zhu Xi

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