Exploring Shinto - Michael Pye

Exploring Shinto - Michael Pye

2. Essentialism in Early Shinto Studies

Exploring Shinto - Michael Pye

Gaétan Rappo [+-]
Nagoya University
Gaétan Rappo is an associate professor at the Research Center for Cultural Heritage and Texts, Nagoya University.


In earlier years Western ideas on Shinto were strongly influenced by “nativist” (kokugaku) ideas on the subject emanating from Japan and hence tended to showcase a very “essentialist” view of Shintō. This paper critiques various Western writers whose writings were typical of this approach. However the paper also explores how this attitude had a reverse influence on pre-war Japanese thinkers. This was especially the case with Hiraizumi Kiyoshi, a scholar who became a major figure in the production of the extreme imperialist ideology of the early Shōwa period. He was also a major source for discourses comparing the Japanese spirit to Nazi ideals, which were created mostly by contemporary German scholars. The origins of this process can be seen in Hiraizumi’s sojourns in Europe, especially in France, Germany and England, from 1930 to 1931.

Notify A Colleague


Rappo, Gaétan . 2. Essentialism in Early Shinto Studies. Exploring Shinto. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 34-56 Jul 2020. ISBN 9781781799604. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39482. Date accessed: 19 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39482. Jul 2020

Dublin Core Metadata