Bunei Seikan (文英清韓)

Bunei-seikan (1568 - May 16, 1621) was a priest of the Rinzai sect from the Azuchi-momoyama to early Edo periods. He was born in Ise Province, and his secular name was Shigetada NAKAO. His imina (personal name) was Seikan. Bunei' was his azana (nickname). His pseudonym was Fuhoshi (不放子).

After becoming a Buddhist priest, he went over to the Korean Peninsula, led by Kiyomasa KATO (a military man in the Sengoku period and a subordinate of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI) at the Bunroku War. In 1600, he became a choro (senior priest) of Tofuku-ji Temple in Kyoto, and then, that of Nanzen-ji Temple. In April 1614, Bunei Seikan, who excelled at making Chinese poems, was ordered by Katsumoto KATAGIRI to make a poem to be carved on the temple bell of Hoko-ji Temple in Kyoto, whose Great Buddha Hall was to be reconstructed. But Ieyasu TOKUGAWA claimed that his poem included an ill-omened expression for him, and demanded that the Buddhist ceremony to consecrate the Great Buddha of Todai-ji Temple be cancelled (this is so-called Hoko-ji Temple Bell Incident). In August of the same year, accompanied by Katsumoto, he went over to Sunpu (where Ieyasu's castle was located) to make excuses only to be blamed by priests of the (Kyoto) Five Zen Monasteries for having been there. This incident developed into a full-fledged confrontation between the Tokugawa and Toyotomi families, which eventually led to Osaka no Jin (The Siege of Osaka). Bunei, who was considered to have taken the Toyotomi side, was ousted from Nanzen-ji Temple, leaving Tentokuin, his residence, temporarily abandoned completely. As shown in his ties with Kiyomasa KATO stated earlier, Bunei maintained a close relationship with the Toyotomi family. This may have caused political confrontation with Konchiin Suden, an adviser to Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and a resident of Nanzen-ji Temple, and led him to be banished. While he was confined to his house, he became acquainted with Razan HAYASHI (a Japanese scholar who, with his son and grandson, established the thought of the great Chinese Neo-Confucian philosopher Chu Hsi as the official doctrine of the Tokugawa shogunate), and was pardoned thanks to his mediation.

[Original Japanese]