Tominaga Nakamoto

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Tominaga Nakamoto (富永 仲基 Tominaga Nakamoto?, 1715–1746) was a Japanese philosopher.[1] He was educated in the Kaitokudo school, which was formed by mercantile class of Osaka, but ostracised shortly after the age of 15. Tominaga belong to Japanese rationalist school of thought and advocated Japanese variation of atheism, Mukishinron (No gods or demons). He was also a merchant in Osaka.

He took a deep critical stance against normative systems of thought, partially based on the Kaitokudo's emphasis on objectivity, but clearly heterodox in eschewing the dominant philosophies of the institution. He was critical of Buddhism, Confucianism and Shintoism.[2] Whereas each of these traditions drew on history as a source of authority, Tominaga saw appeals to history as a pseudo-justification for innovations that try to outdo other sects vying for power. For example, he cited the various Confucian Masters who saw human nature as partially good, neither good nor bad, all good, and inherently bad; analysing later interpreters who tried to incorporate and reconcile all Masters. He criticised Shintoism as obscurantist, especially in its habit of secret instruction. As he always said, "hiding is the beginning of lying and stealing".[3][4] In his study of Buddhist scriptures, he asserted that Hinayana school of scriptures preceded Mahayana scriptures but also asserted that vast majority of Hinayana scriptures are also composed much later than the life of Gautama Buddha, the position which is later supported by modern scriptural studies.


  1. ^ Katō, Shūichi (1967). "Tominaga Nakamoto, 1715-1746: A Japanese Iconoclast". Monumenta Nipponica 22 (1/2): 177–193. JSTOR 2383230. 
  2. ^ Tetsuo Najita, Visions of Virtue, ChicagoL UOC Press, pp102-106.
  3. ^ Hajime Nakamura, Ways of Thinking of Eastern People: India, China, Tibet, Japan
  4. ^ Ketelaar, James Edward (1993). Of Heretics and Martyrs in Meiji Japan: Buddhism and Its Persecution. Princeton University Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-691-02481-3.