Konyo (広如)

Konyo (1798 - August 19, 1871) was a priest of the Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) in the end of the Edo period, the 20th head priest of the Nishi Hongan-ji Temple, and daisojo (a Buddhist priest of the highest order). His imina (personal name) was Kotaku (光澤).

At the end of the Edo period, he flew the imperialist flag and left "Goikun Gosho" (instructions for descendant) which decided the direction of the religious community after the Meiji period.

Personal Profile

In 1798 he was born as the second child of Chikamatsu Kisen (暉宣) of the Kensho-ji Temple in Kawachi Province (Yao City). He assumed the position of head priest of the Kensho-ji Temple at once, but he was adopted by the 19th head priest Honnyo (a brother of Kisen) as a son and assumed the position of the 20th head priest in 1823.

Although his one son and four daughters died early and his adopted son from the Takatsukasa family also died early, Koson (later Myonyo) was born later. There was a time when there were three monzeki (successor of a temple) including Tokunyo (died before succession) and Myonyo from Kensho-ji Temple.

The Religious System of Reverence for the Emperor

During 1854 and 1859 among the confusion after the coming of Kurofune (The Black Ships of Commodore Matthew Perry), and among the gathering momentum of Sonno Joi (slogan advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners), he adopted Gessho, who was a famous priest as an imperialist, as an executive and grew involved with the Imperial court by himself. In 1863 he presented 10,000 ryo (old currency unit) to the Imperial Court and sent a letter to carry out thorough Sonno Joi to the whole religious community. In the following year, 1864, he had the grave of the Emperor Kameyama repaired, and in the Kinmon Incident of the same year he hid dozens of feudal retainers of the Choshu clan who were chased by the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) army and made them escape.

The Edo bakufu tightened security at the stance of the imperialist Nishi Hongan-ji Temple, it ordered the Aizu clan to move the Shinsengumi (a group who guarded Kyoto during the end of Tokugawa Shogunate) headquarters from Mibu to the inside of the Hongan-ji Temple as they had given shelter to the feudal retainers of the Choshu clan.