Kumazawa Banzan's Theory of Daidō and Shinto

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  • 熊沢蕃山の「大道」と「神道」
  • クマザワ バンザン ノ 「 ダイドウ 」 ト 「 シントウ 」

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Abstract

<p>Researchers have focused on Kumazawa Banzan's practical theory of moral cultivation (修養論) and rationalistic political thought (経世論), but have not deeply discussed his theory of religion, which proposed the restoration of Shinto. This is due to the fact that researchers see Kumazawa's thought as a far-fetched syncretism of Shinto and Confucianism. Hence, their assessments are poles apart: “Kumazawa's Shinto is nothing but Confucianism in the end” or “his Confucianism isn't the original but Japanized.”</p><p>Essentialist framings like “is Kumazawa's thought Confucianism or Shinto?” should be avoided. In this paper, noting that Kumazawa often expresses Shinto as “Daidō (大道),” I assert that he offers a universalistic argument which is based on the Confucian classics and relativizes Confucianism itself, as well as that it is a sort of theory of religion which can be compared with Western theories about natural religion. I hold that Kumazawa argues for the restoration of Shinto as a result of his exploration as to how to put a universalistic theory of the religious into practice in the form of a specific religion system tailored to the situations of the concrete epoch and region in early modern Japan.</p>

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