Portal:Shinto/Featured person

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Portrait of Hirata Atsutane.

Hirata Atsutane (平田 篤胤, 6 October 1776 – 2 November 1843) was a Japanese scholar, conventionally ranked as one of the four great men of kokugaku, and one of the most significant theologians of the Shinto religion. He was a follower of Motoori Norinaga. His literary name was Ibukinoya.

Hirata was born to a low-ranking samurai family of Akita domain (in present-day Akita Prefecture) in the Tōhoku region of northern Japan. Hirata was a prolific writer. Representative works in the study of ancient Japanese traditions include Tama no mihashira ("The True Pillar of Spirit"), Koshi seibun ("Treatise on Ancient History"), Kodō taii ("True Meaning of the Ancient Way") and Zoku Shintō taii ("True Meaning of Common Shintō"), and the commentaries Koshi-chō and Koshi-den. He is also noted for his studies of ancient Indian and Chinese traditions (Indo zōshi and Morokoshi taikoden), and texts dealing with the spirit world, including Senkyō ibun ("Strange Tales of the Land of Immortals") and Katsugorō saisei kibun ("Chronicle of the Rebirth of Katsugorō"). His early work Honkyō gaihen indicates an acquaintance with Christian literature that had been authored by Jesuits in China.

Hirata frequently expressed hostility to the Confucian and Buddhist scholars of the day, advocating instead a revival of the "ancient ways" in which the emperor was to be revered. His nationalist writings had considerable impact on the samurai who supported the Sonnō jōi movement and who fought in the Boshin War to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Meiji Restoration.