Kamo no Mabuchi

In this Japanese name, the family name is Kamo.
Mabuchi's portrait by his student
Bust of Mabuchi in Hamamatsu

Kamo no Mabuchi (賀茂 真淵, 24 April 1697 - 27 November 1769) was a Japanese poet and philologist of the Edo period.

Mabuchi conducted research into the spirit of ancient Japan through his studies of the Man'yōshū and other works of ancient literature. A disciple of Kada no Azumamaro, Mabuchi is regarded as one of the four greats of Kokugaku.

Mabuchi’s works include commentaries on the Man'yōshū, norito (Shinto prayers), kagura (Shinto dances), the Tale of Genji, the meaning of poems, and other ancient works and their themes.

His disciples included Motoori Norinaga, Arakida Hisaoyu, Kato Chikage, Murata Harumi, Katori Nahiko, Hanawa Hokiichi, Uchiyama Matatsu, and Kurita Hijimaro.


Mabuchi was born in 1697 as the third son of the Hamamatsu Shinto priest Okabe Masanobu. The Okabe were a lower branch of Kamo Shrine in Kyoto.

At the age of 37, Mabuchi moved to Kyoto and became a disciple of Kada no Azumamaro. Following the master’s death in 1736, Mabuchi moved to Edo in 1738 where he taught Kokugaku.

In 1763, while Mabuchi was on his way to Ise Shrine, Motoori Norinaga sought him out and became a disciple. This single night of discussions, later known as "the night in Matsuzaka", was the only occasion on which Norinaga directly received teaching from Mabuchi, although the two men later corresponded.

An explanatory marker stands at the site of Mabuchi’s residence in Edo (Hisamatsu-cho, Nihonbashi, Chūō, Tokyo). His grave can be found in the Tokaiji cemetery in Shinagawa. A museum stands beside the house where he was born in Hamamatsu (Higashi-Iba, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka).

See also

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