Otani Kosho (大谷光勝)

Kosho OTANI (March 9, 1925 - December 24, 1999) was a Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land Sect Buddhism) priest and the 25th Hoshu (high priest) of the Higashi Hongan-ji school. He was the chief priest of Tokyo Hongan-ji Temple (Currently Higashi Hongan-ji Temple in Taito Ward, Tokyo). His ingo (title given to a Buddhist priest) was Mushokoin. His homyo (posthumous Buddhist name) for Jodo Shinshu was Konyo. His gago (pseudonym) was Guen. His childhood name was Koyomaro. He is cousin to Emperor Akihito.


He was born March 9, 1925 as the first son to Kocho OTANI, the 24th Hoshu of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple (later the 24th Monshu (chief priest)). His mother was Satoko OTANI, the third daughter of Prince Kuninomiya Kuniyoshi and who was Empress Hojun's younger sister.

He entered the Buddhist priesthood as the hoshi (successor to an abbacy) to the Otani school of the Shinshu sect.

In 1946, he graduated from the Department of History, Faculty of Literature, Kyoto University.

He went to the United States in 1950 and studied religious philosophy at Harvard and Columbia University.

After returning to Japan, he served in several organizations such as the first chairman of the All Japan Youth Buddhist Association and president of Shinshu sect, Otani School Youth Study Association.

In 1964, he married Kiyoko OTANI, the first daughter of Shujun NIJO, the 28th Hoshi of Shinshu sect of the Josho-ji school.

In 1966, he assumed the post of the chief priest of the Shinshu sect, Otani school Tokyo Branch Temple of the Tokyo Hongan-ji Temple, with much expected of him as the new leader.

Thereafter, however, conventionalists and the reform group conflicted regarding disciples, management policy, and property issues. The feud surfaced among the reform group, Naikyoku (intra-ministerial bureau) with authoritative power, and his father Kocho (A time known as the Ohigashi-sodo Strife).

Kocho announced the independence of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple from the Shinshu sect, Otani school in Kyoto.

On June 15, 1984, accordingly, Kosho, also freed the Tokyo Hongan-ji Temple, where he was serving as chief priest, from the Shinshu sect, Otani school.

On February 29, 1988, he proclaimed his succession as the 25th Hoshu of Higashi Hongan-ji, to reestablish the legal system of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple that had been dissolved through the reform by the Shinshu sect, Otani school. He led 300 some sub-temples that similarly became independent from the Otani school and established the Jodo Shinshu Higashi Honganji school, with Tokyo Honganji-temple as the head temple.

Koshi died on December 24, 1999 at the age of 75.


" wo tanome - Hongan ha mirai wo hiraku" (Prayer for Amida-Hongan opens the future) (Shunjusha Publishing, 2005)
"Tannisho Koza, Volume 3" (Notes lamenting deviations) Joint authorship, Edited by Higashi Hongan-ji Kyogaku Kenkyusho Tokyo Bunshitsu Tannisho wo kiku kai (Yoyoi Shobo, 1971)
"Kokoro no kido - Waga Shinko to Shisaku" (Path of the heart - My faith and Philosophy) (Kodansha, 1967)
"Shinshu to Ningen - Otani Koshi shu" (Shinshu and Man -Collection writings by Kosho Otani) (Kyoiku Shincho, 1966)
"Gendai ni ikiru Soshi Shinran - Shozomatsuwasan Nyumon" (Founder Shinran living modern times - Introduction to Shozomatsuwasan) (Sankei Shinbun, 1966)
"Namuamidabutsu no kokoro" (Heart of Namuamidabutsu) (Shunjusha Publishing, 1964)
"Gendai shinran koza, Volume 1(Modern Shinran)" Joint authorship, Edited by Higashi Hongan-ji Kyogaku Kenkyuusho Tokyo Bunshitsu (Futsusha, 1963)
"Gendaijin no kido" (Trajectory of modern man) (Bunka Jiho, 1961)