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Yamato-damashii, Karazae and Karagokoro: Motoori Norinaga’s Attitude toward Sinology
Yamato and Kara
Motoori Norinaga, being a valued Japanese thinker, was a mastermind who reached a comprehensive grasp of Japanese Kokugaku. His researches on Japanese Kodo and constructions of Kokugaku were later crucial to the country’s perceptions of its own culture. Looking into Norinaga’s view on Sinology, it appeared to be rather intricate. The most distinct discourse he presented in life included a firm hold to “Yamato-damashii” and criticisms on “Karagokoro.” The message behind this discourse indicated that “Karagokoro” was but a part of Sinology to Norinaga; whilst criticizing “Karagokoro,” he gave recognition to the “Karazae” part of Sinology. From the message, it could be perceived that Motoori Norinaga’s understanding of Sinology was a complicated idea consisted of three concepts: “Yamato-damashii,” “Karazae” and “Karagokoro.” In order to explore his thoughts regarding Sinology, a system based on intertwining “Yamato” and “Kara” ideologies, this thesis takes studying “Yamato-damashii,” “Karazae” and “Karagokoro” as method of research. In the first part of the thesis, the definitions and contents of the three concepts mentioned would be sorted out. The connections between the three would later be clarified, so that Norinaga’s stance on Sinology would be distinctly shown: he considered the subject consciousness of “Yamato-damashii” as the base of everything and guarded it against the influence of “Karagokoro.” However, he was ready to put “Karazae” into good use as long as it did not contradict “Yamato-damashii.” The second part of the thesis discusses Norinaga’s discourse on “Tao,” which he valued all his life. From the discourse, readers may see that the two cultures of “Yamato-damashii” and “Karagokoro” differed from each other distinctly in their practices of Tao: while the former functioned in the benefits of gods, the latter treated human beings as its root. The difference would help readers to better understand Norinaga’s strong and insistent distinguishing of “Yamato” and “Karae,” as well as the ways he differentiated the Tao of the two. In the third part of this thesis, Norinaga’s perspective on Shinto would be further explored in aim of comprehending his world view. Here, I attempt to analyze Norinaga’s deeper understanding on “Yamato-damashii” and “Karazae,” hence make clear his interpretations and orientations of the two concepts. This part of research reveals that Norinaga, despite criticizing “Karagokoro,” interpreted and included the concept into his world view. Instead of rejecting or eliminating it, he granted it a role in his system of thoughts. The fourth part focuses on Norinaga’s discourses on the different ways “Yamato” and “Karae” ideologies achieved life fulfillments. Also, it attempts to understand how Norinaga’s beliefs on Shinto and “Yamato-damashii” varied from the moral values that “Karazae” pursued. The research here explains two life arguments of disparate orientations. The last part of this thesis concludes the contents and characteristics of Norinaga’s Sinology from the varied discourses on “Yamato” and “Kara” discussed above. Overall, Norinaga’s view on Sinology was closely connected to the establishment of his imperial Kodoron. Norinaga’s attitude toward Sinology in general was complicated, diversified and tolerant. Its multileveled differentiation was especially distinct. Such characteristic explained the reason why, despite its seemingly criticizing image, Norinaga’s Sinology was in fact accepting and tolerant.
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