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Kokugaku (Jap.), National Learning or Japanese Studies. Its foremost task was to study ancient Japanese literature by means of scrutinizing the exact meaning of ancient words, and for that reason, Kokugaku as an academic discipline can be defined as a school that relied on philology as its methodological tool to bring out the ethos of Japanese tradition freed from foreign ideas and thoughts.

The Hirata School in the late Tokugawa period reckoned Kada no Azumaro (1669–1736), Kamo no Mabuchi (1697–1769), Motoori Norinaga (1730–1801), and Hirata Atsutane (1776–1843) as the four major exponents of the Kokugaku Movement. The honour as its founder, however, would go to Keichū, a Shingon priest and scholar, who introduced a new academic standard for the study of ancient Japanese literature.

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