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Hitomaro In The Early Modern Period: Poetic Icon And Popular Deity

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Chapter Summary

Following Hitomaro's elevation to the status of poetic deity in the medieval commentaries on the Kokinshū, his reception and canonization in the early modern period (Edo period, 1603-1868) can be examined in terms of three main spheres of discourse. The first is the continuing transmission of Hitomaro as a deity of poetry (as depicted in the texts of the kokin denju), including the reception in popular genres of Hitomaro as a poetic divinity. The second is the re-emergence of Hitomaro as a Manʼyōshū poet in the context of the reception and study of the Manʼyōshū by scholars of the National Learning (kokugaku) movement. The third is the growth of shrines dedicated to Hitomaro, where he came to be worshipped for distinctly non-literary purposes. An examination of Hitomaro worship highlights the complex interaction of textual and extratextual modes of canonization that combined to lead to his apotheosis as a poetic god.

Keywords: canonization; early modern period; Hitomaro; Kokinshū; Manʼyōshū; medieval commentaries; National learning; poetic deity



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