museum of Motoori Norinaga
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Portrait of Norinaga

What kind of person do you think Motoori Norinaga was?
You will get a sense for the spirit of Norinaga t his self-portrait.


Norinaga Age Forty-four Self-Portrait

Norinaga Age Forty-four Self-Portrait
 
This self-portrait was painted by Norinaga at the age of 44.
The large black kimono he is wearing is a custom-made garment named "Suzu-no-ya Goromo," which he wore when studying and giving lectures.
Mountain cherry blossoms, books, "Suzu-no-ya Goromo"... this is a work is crammed with the symbols of Norinaga's academic interests and his favorite things.


Norinaga Age Sixty-one Self-Portrait

Norinaga Age Sixty-one Self-Portrait
 


This self-portrait was drawn by Norinaga in the fall of 1790, when he was 61 years old.
At the top of the picture you can see this well-known waka:

Shikishima no
Yamato-gokoro wo
Hito towaba
Asahi ni niou
Yamazakura-bana

Someone asked me what the Japanese spirit is.
I would say
That it is
Like beautiful colors of wild cherry blossoms shining
In the morning sun.

Truly, Norinaga's own soul has been expressed in this poem.



Norinaga Age Seventy-two Portrait

Norinaga Age Seventy-two Self-Portrait
 


This portrait was drawn by Kamogawa Seitoku just before Norinaga passed away. It leaves out no details of his appearance in his declining years, from his countenance to his "Suzu-no-ya Goromo."