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读书笔记 Hasuda Zenmei and National Learning

Hasuda was an ardent nationalist himself and would become even “stubbornly” so in a few years, fixated on what he understood to be “the ancient” via the kokugaku, “national learning,” that Moto’ori Norinaga advocated, especially the ideal of devotion to the Tennō. National Learning is a historico-literary movement that tried to eliminate Chinese, Confucian, and Buddhist influences in the Japanese language and literature and recover and establish what were thought to be things purely Japanese. As Norinaga put it in his introduction to kokugaku, “First, it is vital to wash away the Chinese mind and Confucian mind cleanly so you may firm up your Yamato spirit.”


In particular, the tanka in which Norinaga thought he expressed best the essence of the “Yamato spirit,” Yamato damashii, or “Yamato heart,” Yamato gokoro, became exceedingly popular among militarists during the 1930s and 1940s. It reads:

Shikishima no Yamato gokoro o hito towaba asahi ni niou yamazakurabana

If someone inquires of the Yamato heart, it is the wild cherry powers abloom in the morning sun


敷島の大和心を人問はば朝日に匂ふ山桜花 『六十一歳自画自賛像』

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