born 1619, Kyōto, Japan
died Sept. 9, 1691, Shimofusa
Japanese political philosopher.
Born a rōnin , he was taken into service by the feudal lord of Okayama at age 15. Largely self-taught, he became a disciple of the Chinese Neo-Confucianist Wang Yangming . As chief minister of Okayama from 1647, he tried to put into practice the Confucian teachings on governance. Forced to resign in 1656, he spent the rest of his life studying and writing. He called for advancement in the government bureaucracy based on merit, not heredity, and advocated more government responsibility in economic life and less control by feudal lords. His ideas so infuriated the government that he was kept in custody or under surveillance the rest of his life.