Chukai (忠快)

Chukai (born in 1162; died on April 10, 1227) was a priest of the Tendai Sect during the late Heian period and early Kamakura period. He held the positions of Hoin (the highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priests) and Gon Daisozu (the provisional second highest position, upper grade, of priest). He was also called Chunagon (vice-Councilor of the State) Risshi (Buddhist priest). His name "Chukai" can also be written as "仲快."

He was born as a son of Kadowaki Chunagon (Vice-Councilor of Kadowaki), TAIRA no Norimori, who was a younger brother of TAIRA no Kiyomori. He received the religious precept as a disciple of Cloistered Imperial Prince Kakukai in 1176. He studied under Jien and Genri and resided in Shoren-in Temple. Chukai was promoted to Gon Shosozu (a provisional junior rank in the second highest managerial position) under the Taira Clan Administration. But he was forced to leave the Capital along with the Taira Clan in 1183. Two years later in 1185, he was taken captive during the Battle of Dan no Ura. Later that year, he was exiled to the Izu Province.

Chukai was placed under custody of Munemochi KANO in Izu. During this time, Chukai accepted new followers of Buddhism such as MINAMOTO no Yoritomo and gokenin (an immediate vassal of the Shogunate during the Kamakura, Muromachi, and Edo periods). He then returned to Kyoto in 1189. The land previously owned by his father, Norimori, in Sanjo Ogawa Takahata was returned to Chukai. He managed Hobodai-in Temple at that location. In 1195, Chukai accompanied MINAMOTO no Yoritomo to Kanto once again. In 1203, Jien passed on to Chukai the title of Gon Shosozu, a title he once held before. He continued to advance to Hogen (the second highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priests) and Gon Daisozu.

The Third Shogun, MINAMOTO no Sanetomo, also placed his full trust and confidence in him. He visited Kanto several times at the invitation of the Shogun. In Kyoto, on the other hand, he accepted Gotakakurain's devotion. Chukai was a high-ranking priest who was worshipped by the Imperial Court as well as by the Kamakura Bakufu (the Japanese Feudal Government headed by a Shogun). He also assumed the position of Chori (chief priest) of the Yokawa Precincts on Mt. Hiei during the Jokyu era. Later generations called his doctrine 'Ogawa School,' which constituted one of the Thirteen Schools of the Taimitsu (Esoteric Buddhism of the Japanese Tendai Sect).