Otani Koen (大谷光演)

Koen OTANI (February 27, 1875 - February 6, 1943) was a Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) monk who was the 23rd Hossu (head priest) of the Otani School of the Jodo Shinshu. He was head of the Otani School of the Jodo Shinshu. He was a haiku poet. He held the title of count.
His posthumous Buddhist name was 'Muryo Koin.'
His homyo (a Buddhist name given to a person who has died or has entered the priesthood) was 'Shonyo.'
His pseudonyms included 'Kubutsu' and 'Kuho.'
His childhood name was 'Kuyo Maro.'

His wife was Sanetomi SANJO's third daughter Ayako.

Koen OTANI studied traditional Japanese painting under Bairei KONO and Seiho TAKEUCHI, was influenced by Shiki MASAOKA and commented on in the magazine "Hototogisu" by Hekigoto KAWAHIGASHI and Kyoshi TAKAHAMA who he admired and looked up to. He later broke from the influence of "Hototogisu" and followed his own path. During his lifetime, he wrote many haiku poems (approximately 20,000) and used his poetic talent to forge his own reputation within the haiku world. He is affectionately known as Kubutsu Shonin (meaning 'one who uses haiku poetry to praise Buddha').

Career

February 27, 1875: Born to father Koei OTANI, 22nd Hossu (head priest) of the Otani School of the Jodo Shinshu.

1885: Entered the Buddhist priesthood.

November 1908: Inherited the position of 23rd Hossu (head priest) of the Otani School of the Jodo Shinshu from his father Koei.

1911: Conducted a service commemorating the 650th year since the death of sect founder Shinran Shonin.

1925: Failure of mining operations on the Korean Peninsula resulted in the disruption of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple's finances for which he took responsibility and retired, passing his position of Hossu onto his eldest son Kocho OTANI.

February 6, 1943: Passed away aged 68.

Bibliography

"Kubutsu Kushu" (Yomiuri Shimbun, 1959)
"Haikai Saijiki Shinnen" (Kaizo-sha, 1948)
"Ware ha Ware" (Shomotsu Tenbo-sha, 1938)
"Yume no Ato" (Seikei Shoin, 1935)
"Kono Taisai ni Aute" (Chugai Shuppan, 1923)
"Hoetsu no Ikkyo" edited by Soten UCHIDA (Kobundo, 1920)
"Kubutsu-shonin Haiku Chodai-sho" edited by Jitoku ABE (Hozokan, 1910)
"Shizen no Mama ni" (Shinshu Otani-ha Shumusho Shuppanbu, 1992)