orig. Gen or Mokken
born April 21, 1608, Ōmi province, Japan
died Oct. 11, 1648, Ōmi province
Japanese Neo-Confucian scholar.
A feudal retainer, he left his post in 1634 and returned to his native village to carry out his obligations to his widowed mother. There he taught and studied the works of Zhu Xi, but eventually he abandoned Zhu's philosophy for the idealist thought of Wang Yangming. Like Wang, he believed truth was to be discovered through intuition and reflection rather than empirical investigation and that the universe's unifying principle exists in the human mind, not in the external world. He believed that a concept could be fully understood only when acted upon; this emphasis on action made him popular with 19th-and 20th-century Japanese nationalists.