Otani Ennei (大谷演慧)

Ennei OTANI (November 14, 1914 - January 28, 2008) was a priest of Jodo shinshu sect (True Pure Land Sect Buddhism). He was Kagiyaku (chief priest) of Otani school of Shin sect. He was also a chief priest of Hakodate Betsuin of the same school. He stood in for the chief priest of Shin sect Otani school from 1993 to 1996. His Ingo (a name given to a Buddhist priest) was Shingyoin. His Homyo (a posthumous Buddhist name used in Jodo Shinshu) was Senkyo. He was a cousin of Kocho OTANI, the twenty-fourth Hoshu (the chief priest) of that school.

Ennei was born as the first son of Eijun OTANI, who was the eleventh son of Koei OTANI (Gennyo), the twenty-second chief priest of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, and served as Kagiyaku and the chief priest of Hakodate Betsuin. In 1938, Ennei entered the Buddhist priesthood. In 1947, he took the position of Kagiyaku, and in 1972, he became the chief priest of Hakodate Betsuin on behalf of his father, Eijun. It is said that when a conflict (Higashi-sodo Strife) occured from 1965 to 1974 between Naikyoku (intra-ministerial bureau) of the religious school led by the reformers and the Otani family over the interpretation of creed, operation of doctrine, and property issues, Ennei exhibited an understanding to the reformers, held important positions such as Sanmu (equivalent to the minister) and Shikimu-bucho (general manager of the Ceremony Performance Division) in Naikyoku of the reformers, and then played a coordinating role between Naikyoku and the Otani family. On April 13, 1993, Kocho OTANI, the twenty-fourth chief priest, passed away, and Korin OTANI, who was Shinmon, succeeded to Kocho. However, since Korin was under age, Ennei became the acting chief priest on April 17. On January 31, 1996, the position of the chief priest became vacant since Narishige, who was the chief priest at that time, along with his father, Chojun OTANI, declared their withdrawal from the religious school. After that, Ennei worked as the acting chief priest as was determined until Choken OTANI, the third son of Kocho, succeeded to the twenty-fifth chief priest on July 31. 1996.

Ennei also played an active role in the worlds of model airplane and ultralight power machinery (microlight plane), and took positions as Honorary Chairman of the Kansai Modelers Club Association (KMA), Director of the Japan Radio Control Safety Association, Chairman of the Japan Microlight Aeronautic League, and Administrator of the Japan International Birdman Rally.

On January 28, 2008, Ennei passed away at the age of 93.

[Original Japanese]