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1 INTRODUCTION IntheDecember1934inauguralnumberoftheacademicjournalKokugaku, the eminent Japanese linguist Yamada Yoshio (1875–1958) contributed the opening article, aptly titled “What Then Is Kokugaku?” There he notes that most people in the present do not know what Kokugaku actually means or what is included under the umbrella term (1942:31). He states that if you look through Ōkawa Shigeo and Minami Shigeki’s massive Kokugakusha denki shūsei (1904, expanded by Ueda and Haga in 1934) and examine the contributions and works of the 680 people they claim are associated with the Kokugaku tradition, you notice that the central criterion for inclusion appears to be that these people composed waka (poetry written in Japanese ) or wrote in Japanese (as opposed to Chinese). Yamada (1942:32–33) then affirms, “Looking through Kokugakusha denki shūsei it is evident that in the Meiji period Kokugaku declined and people even forgot what the appellation‘Kokugaku’meant.…AstherewasnodefinedfieldofKokugaku before the petition [for a native school] by Kada no Azumamaro, those scholars and people belonging to branches of schools [established before Azumamaro] should not strictly be labeled as ‘scholars of Kokugaku.’  ”1 It is interesting that this article was written as a foil for an article composed thirty years previously by Haga Yaichi; both articles have the same title (see Haga 1904). Also, the first half of Haga’s two-­ part essay appeared as the opening article in the January issue of Kokugakuin zasshi. Having studied in Europe, Haga experienced how philology underpinned the study of culture and civilization in the West, which must have caused him to remember the philological work of Kamo no Mabuchi and Motoori Norinaga.Hagamadearobustargumentin1904thatthestudyofKokugaku in Japan equaled philology in the German sense, grounded in a tradition inherited from Greece and Rome. Based on this European system, he then attempted to bring Kokugaku back into focus for the Japanese by re­defining 1. It needs to be pointed out that the term kokugaku is not without its own inherent problems. As Nosco (1981:76) notes, “As a term, however, it has been used to describe a broad range of scholarly and ideological endeavors. In its broadest sense [Kokugaku] refers to all learning and scholarship which took Japan as its focus instead of China.” 2 An Anthology of Kokugaku Scholars, 1690 to 1898 it, describing three main pillars of the field: the ideology of the Japanese, the Way of Japan, and the special character of the national polity. In this way, Haga deleted the poetic and literary interests of Kokugaku, perhaps returning to the earlier thought of Kada no Arimaro, who found that poetry was mainly an artistic endeavor and was of little use in the sphere of politics. Three decades later Yamada took an insular turn, and refuted the need for a connection with the civilizations of Greece or Rome (or even Europe), arguing that Kokugaku was specific to the Japanese, so no other country on earth could create the same type of discipline. To him Kokugaku did not match the Western idea of philology. Perplexed by Haga’s reformulation of the basic ingredients of Kokugaku, Yamada (1942:33) quotes from Wakun no shiori (finally published in its entirety in 1887) by Tanigawa Kotosuga (1709–76), where he states, “Kokugaku is the study of Japan. It is the study of the kami, and the study of poetry.” Yamada goes on to qualify this definition , contending that Kokugaku is the study of the indigenous religion of Japan, as well as the proper appreciation of poetry, not simply its [proper] composition. Kokugaku started as a study of waka, and Yamada argues that the Japanese should return to Kokugaku’s origins. After all, no other people on earth were endowed with the ability to produce waka. In the beginning days of 1937 the prominent ethnologist Orikuchi Shinobu (1887–1953) wrote an article for the Ōsaka Asahi Newspaper titled, “What Is Kokugaku?” He writes that recently he had begun to believe that Kokugaku was actually the study of the “fortitude” (気概) of the Japanese people (1956a:278). He goes on to write that he was greatly exasperated that some people labeled scholars of Chinese history and culture as “scholars of Kokugaku,” even though they had but a faint connection with Japan through interdisciplinary research. He wanted his readers to clearly recognize that Kokugaku was grounded in Japanese culture, specifically poetry (1956a:278–79). To demonstrate this, the reader finds that he has sixteen different poems sprinkled among his article. Over an almost four-­ decade period these three scholars...


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