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Hōtoku (Jap., ‘repaying virtue’). A popular syncretic religious movement of the Tokugawa period (1600–1868) in Japan. Hōtoku was founded by Ninomiya Sontoku (1787–1856), whose mission was to uplift morally the life of farmers, while, at the same time, encouraging economic productivity. Sontoku's creed emphasized the Confucian doctrine of filial piety, the virtue of manual labour (which was the human counterpart of the creative activities of the gods, kami), and the practice of husbanding agricultural surpluses to protect against times of famine.