Disposition of Debts of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple (東本願寺借財整理)

Disposition of debts of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple was an incident in which Higashi Hongan-ji Temple asked government officials for a rescue from their debts during the Meiji period.


When Higashi Hongan-ji Temple was trapped in their debt of over 3,000,000 yen, Tadakatsu UTSUMI and Denzaburo FUJITA, who were financial advisors, tried to settle the debts in vain, and finally Koei OTANI, the hoshu (high priest), and Kaien ATSUMI, Naikyoku (intra-ministerial bureau), asked Kaoru INOUE for a rescued through Masamitsu HIROHASHI and Denzaburo FUJITA.

In late December 1902, Inoue entered Kyoto accompanied by Shigeo KATAYAMA. A petition was handed to Inoue signed by not only the authorities concerned with Higashi Hongan-ji Temple but also interested merchants. Inoue thoroughly investigated the cause of the financial disorder and started a reform.

Reportedly, 'seeing a magnificent carriage sent by Hongan-ji Temple, Inoue rushed to the temple, saying "how dare those who ask for the deposition of the debts allow themselves such luxuries," heard financial status from concerned people from nine in the morning to six in the evening, and, with dinner served, he suddenly exploded with anger, abusively saying "how can we eat the dinner if we consider that the dinner is made from offering of good men and good women saving every single grain."'
(A scene is likely even today in which someone received by a luxury car gets angry and arrives in a taxi.)

No one but Inoue could determine and execute reduction of interest payments and borrowing beyond the value of the collateral, and he assigned Konoike-ginko Bank as the only bank of account.

It is said that their good faith was not demonstrated against his instruction to report execution of the saving in the life of the hoshu.

In June 1903, Shuntai ISHIKAWA, the former head of the temple office, was expelled and deprived of his priesthood due to the financial disorder issue.

[Original Japanese]