Mokujiki Ogo (木食応其)
Ogo was originally a samurai serving for Ochi Awa no kuni no kami (Governor of Awa Province). In 1573, Ogo entered the priesthood on Mt. Koya at the age of 38 and received religious precepts from 政遍 of Hosho-in Temple.
(According to another theory, it was Ogo who gave religious precepts to 政遍. Details are yet to be known.In Kyoto, it is generally believed that it was one Kanjin Hijiri (fund-raising priests) of Seigan-ji Temple in Shinkyogoku, Kyoto.)
Upon entering Mt. Koya, with the wish to attain enlightenment, Ogo practiced kokudachi (training of eating no grain) by not eating various types of grain.
Ogo spent the rest of his life at Kozan-ji Temple. He went on a pilgrimage all over Japan, soliciting for contributions for temples. When Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI attacked Negoro-ji Temple in 1585, Ogo engaged in the negotiation process with Hideyoshi. Consequently, Hideyoshi agreed to provide support for the reconstruction of Mt. Koya and founded the Kon-do Hall (main hall of a Buddhist temple) and Daito pagoda on Mt. Koya, contributing to the revival of Mt. Koya. In turn, Ogo helped Hideyoshi when Hideyoshi was building Hoko-ji Temple. In 1587, Ogo made an effort to complete the reconciliatory negotiation between Hideyoshi and the Shimazu clan.
In the battle of Sekigahara, from his strong ties with the Toyotomi family, Ogo worked as a negotiator upon surrender of Otsu-jo Castle in Omi Province (represented by Takatsugu KYOGOKU, defense general) and of Tsu-jo Castle in Ise Province (represented by Nobutaka TOMITA, defense general). After the battle, Ogo went into a seclusion at Hando-ji Temple of Omi Province and fell into deep meditation. The mausoleum is close to Okunoin cemetery of Mt. Koya.
Ogo-ji Temple (originally, Sofuku-ji Temple) is in Hashimoto City of Wakayama Prefecture, contributing to the development of (then) Hashimoto-cho and founding the basis of Hashimoto City at the foot of Mt. Koya now.
Hashimoto was named after the bridge (hashi) crossing of the Kino-kawa River in the city.
Ogo was a master of renga (linked verses) and had a close friendship with Joha SATOMURA, who was the best renga poet of the era. Ogo's relationship with Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI is believed to have started with his friendship with Joha.
In 2008, which was the 400th anniversary of the death of Mokujiki Ogo, a special exposition was convened at the Wakayama prefectural museum.
(October 18-November 24, 2008)