Otani Kocho (大谷光暢)

Kocho OTANI (October 1, 1903 - April 13, 1993) was a monk in the Jodo Shin (True Pure Land) sect of Buddhism, and he was the 24th Hoshu (high priest) (Monshu (representative priest) later) of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple. Formerly a Count. His ingo (a title given to a Buddhist) was 'Taicho'onin' (also 'Mujodoin').
His homyo (a posthumous Buddhist name used in Jodo Shin sect) (Jodo Shin Buddhism) was 'Sennyo.'
His gago (pseudonym) was 'Guko.'
His childhood name was 'Koyomaro.'

Career

He was born on October 1, 1903, as the eldest son of Koen OTANI, the 23rd Hoshu.

On May 3, 1924, while he was a student at Otani University he married Satoko OTANI, who was the third daughter of Prince Kuninomiya Kuniyoshi and a younger sister of Empress Kojun. He became a younger brother-in-law of Emperor Showa.

In September of 1925, he assumed his position as the 24th Hoshu as a successor to his father, Shonyo, who stepped down in order to take responsibility for financial problems.

In 1947, he formed a choir 'Otani Gakuen' with his wife, Satoko, the urakata (spouse of the current Monshu). He actively implemented edification using Buddhist music.

In 1949, he held Rennyo Shonin's 450th Memorial Service.

In 1961, he held Founder Shinran Shonin's 700th Memorial Service.

In April of 1969, he announced that he would 'hand down to my eldest son, Kosho OTANI Shinmon, only the position of Kancho (head priest) among the positions of Hoshu, Hongan-ji Temple Jushoku (chief priest) and Kancho I jointly hold' (Kaishin Incident).

Triggered by the Kaishin Incident he confronted Naikyoku (intra-ministerial bureau) of Shin Sect Otani School, which was led by the reformist group, regarding issues such as the interpretation of the teaching, the administrative policies of the School and problems of their assets.

In June of 1981, even though there were more than a few supporters of Shonyo, he lost the dispute to the Naikyoku, and the 'Shuken (constitution) of Shin Sect Otani School (religious laws which are equivalent to constitutions in the School)' was revised, and his position shifted from 'Hoshu', which is the absolute leader of the religious order who succeeds to the traditions originating from Shinran, the founder, to 'Monshu,' who is a symbolic representative of monks and followers of the entire order but does not hold any authority.

Even after losing his power as the leader in the order, Shonyo continued to dismiss these movements as acts against the traditions of Hongan-ji Temple, and after he was made Monshu he barely made any public appearances.

In 1987, Naikyoku legally dissolved the religious order 'Honganji' and incorporated it into a religious corporation, 'Shinshu Otaniha (Shin Sect Otani School).'
The official name of (the incorporated religious order) 'Honganji (Higashi Honganji)' became 'Shinshu Honbyo.'

He passed away on April 13, 1993, at the age of 89. The duration of his term as Hoshu (Monshu) was 67 years.

After Sennyo passed away, the Otani School had no Monshu, and Kagiyaku (a key person to a temple's business), Ennei OTANI, served as the acting Monshu. In 1996, the third son, Choken OTANI, succeeded as the 25th Monshu.