museum of Motoori Norinaga
General Information About Norinaga Related Historic Sites Exhibitions Access Sight-seeing
About Norinaga
About  Norinaga
Mptoori Norinaga

kojikiden"Kojiki" is the eariest history book in Japan which was completed in 712. "Kojiki" was written in altered classical Chinese, in which words unique to Japanese can be written using Chinese characters as phonograms.
What Norinaga attempted was to exclude Chinese influence and concepts-which are, of course, inherent in the characters-from the methodology of his study of the ancient world. His efforts resulted in the famous "Kojiki-den," in which he explored the thinking and emotions of the ancient Japanese, whom he exalted.

Norinaga admired Kamo no Mabuchi's exegeses of the ancient Japanese classics. Mabuchi, already a scholar of repute, taught the classics in Edo. Norinaga would have visited Mabuchi if Edo had not been so far from Matsusaka.
In May 1763, a big change came over Norinaga. Mabuchi and his students stopped at an inn in Matsusaka on the way back from the Ise Shrine. They met at an inn called Shinjyo-ya.
Norinaga told Mabuchi that he intended to annotate "Kojiki." Mabuchi said that he, too, desired to explicate "Kojiki" and other ancient classics. But for the study of the classics, he added, it is important to understand the spiritual world of the ancient Japanese. Eschew Chinese ways of thinking, he advised, and learn the language of the ancient Japanese if you would like to know their spiritual world.
Mabuchi was sixty-six and Norinaga was thirty-three. The two scholars with a common passion are said to have talked through the night.
Mabuchi encouraged Norinaga to pursue the study of the "Kojiki" and suggested that his own research on "Man'yoshu" (the oldest existing collection of waka poems) would provide Norinaga with a firm foundation for his studies. He handed Norinaga an annotated copy of the "Kojiki." Norinaga officially became Mabuchi's student in October. They sent letters to each other between Edo and Matsusaka.

The meeting was truly fateful in that Norinaga devoted himself to the study of the "Kojiki" over the next 34 years. The fruit of that study was the forty-four-volume "Kojiki-den," his lifework.
In June 1798, after thirty-four years of study, the "Kojiki-den" was complete.
He had begun writing it at the age of thirty-four and finished it at the age of sixty-eight.
Norinaga died on September 29, 1801. He was seventy-two. Publication of the "Kojiki-den," which began sixteen years earlier, was still in progress. Twenty-one years more would elapse before the publication of the forty-fourth volume.