Jitsunyo (実如)

Jitsunyo (September 26, 1458 - March 5, 1525) was a Buddhist priest of the Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) who lived from the mid-Muromachi period into the Sengoku period (period of warring states). He was the eighth son of the Buddhist priest Rennyo of the eighth abbot of Hongan-ji Temple. His imina (personal name) was Mitsukane. He became the ninth abbot of Hongan-ji Temple.

In 1467 his father Rennyo was declared 'an enemy of Buddhism' by Enryaku-ji Temple and driven away from Kyoto; during the period Rennyo was depressed by Enryaku-ji Temple's persecution, he was forced to live in retirement, to disinherit his eldest sun Junnyo, and to transfer the family headship to Jitsunyo, who at that time was known as Mitsutanemaru (光養丸), but Rennyo regained his influence following the resurgence in Hongan-ji Temple's own power, which left the inheritance question up in the air, until eventually things went back to the way they had been, with Junnyo reinstalled as his successor. But in 1483, with the death of his eldest brother Junnyo, Jitsunyo was once again made successor (and for that reason, there are actually two letters of inheritance, used by his father the chief priest to name his successor, in existence that designate Jitsunyo his heir), and in 1489, he succeeded his father Rennyo and became the ninth abbot of Hongan-ji Temple. And even after Rennyo passed away in 1499, Jitsunyo found it necessary to handle the maintenance of a religious organization that had suddenly expanded a great deal in scale during his father's time.

Jitsunyo placed particular importance on his relationship with the Kanrei (shogunal deputy) Masamoto HOSOKAWA. Formerly, after forces of the Kaga Ikko Ikki (a popular revolt by the Ikko sect) attacked and destroyed the Shugo (provincial constable) Masachika TOGASHI, just as the seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") Yoshihisa ASHIKAGA was preparing to issue an order to destroy Hongan-ji Temple, Masamoto came out strongly against issuing such an order and managed to have the order repealed, and because of this chain of events, Jitsunyo felt a major debt of gratitude towards Masamoto. As a result, in 1495 Jitsunyo gave his approval to purge Senji KAWAI, leader of the Kaga Ikki (revolt) and member of the anti-Masamoto faction, from the religious establishment. But in 1506, when Jitsunyo agreed to Masamoto HOSOKAWA's request to cooperate in the subjugation of Yoshihide HATAKEYAMA, Jodo Shinshu followers from Settsu and Kawachi Provinces, who had strong ties to the Hatakeyama clan, furiously opposed him, and consequently Jitsunyo's younger brother by a different mother, Jitsugen, himself descended from the Hatakeyama clan, demanded, with the backing of Ishiyama Gobo (later became Omi Province's Shotoku-ji Temple), that he replaced Jitsunyo as Hoshu (high priest) of the Jodo Shinshu Sect. Jitsunyo, invigorated by this challenge to his authority, managed to outmaneuver his opponents and retain power (in what was called the 'Osaka War'), but following this, when Sumiyuki HOSOKAWA had Masamoto assassinated and began fighting with Sumimoto HOSOKAWA, Jitsunyo, who was caught in the middle of this conflict, was eventually banished temporarily to Yamashina Hongan-ji Temple by Sumimoto.

Jitsunyo, racking his mind for what to do amongst these circumstances, planned several responses, notably: 1) promulgating--together with his younger brother Renjun and his son Ennyo--three different punitive admonitions, the most notable of which was the one focused on Jodo Shinshu followers in the Hokuriku region (central-north Japan) that outlawed Ikki; 2) establishing Ichimon-Ikka System that split the household at Hongan-ji Temple into the Ichimonshu (the lineage of the eldest son) and the Ikkashu (the lineage of the second and other sons); and 3) selecting 80 documents from among Rennyo's writings, compiling them into five volumes, calling them the Gobun (also referred as Ofumi, literally Epistles) and using them as the fundamental doctrinal creed of the sect.

[Original Japanese]