Otani Choken (大谷暢顕)

Choken OTANI (March 27, 1930 -) is a Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land Sect Buddhism) priest and the 25th chief priest of the Otani school, Shinshu sect. He is the former chairman of the Japan Buddhist Federation. His homyo (posthumous Buddhist name) is Jonyo. His gago (pseudonym) is Gugaku. He is the cousin of (Emperor) Akihito.

He was born the third son of Kocho OTANI (Sennyo), the 24th Hoshu (head priest). His mother was Satoko Otani, the younger sister of Empress Kojun. After graduating from Momoyama Agricultural School, he went to Otani Junior and Senior High School (Kyoto Prefecture). Later, he studied at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kyoto University as audit student. In 1966, he entered Buddhist priesthood, using the ingo Jishinin and homyo Senjo (闡淨), and was appointed the Kagiyaku (a key person in temple business) for Shinshu Honbyo (another name for Higashi Hongan-ji Temple). There was a time when he worked as an electronics technician at a company in Tokyo.

On January 31, 1996, his second oldest brother, Chojun OTANI who was the director of the Honganji Foundation, seceded from the Otani school, because of discord with its Naikyoku (intra-ministerial bureau), along with his oldest son, Narishige OTANI, who was the chief priest at the time (A time known as Ohigashi-sodo Strife). They were the only Renshi (brothers and sisters of nobles) with the right to succeed as head priest. It was decided that since Narishige did not have formal succession ceremony, he would not be counted as a successor, and Choken succeeded as the 25th chief priest, after his father, Kocho, and used Homyo Jonyo. Monshu Succession Ceremony was held on November 21, 1996.