Higashifushimi Jigo (東伏見慈洽)

Jigo HIGASHIFUSHIMI (May 16, 1910 -) is a Buddhist monk in Japan. A member of the former peerage and the former Imperial family. The third prince of Prince Kuninomiya Kuniyoshi. A maternal uncle of the present Emperor. His wife is Yasuko, the second daughter of Count Koretsune KAMEI. His name in the Imperial family was Prince Kunihide.

Days in the Imperial family

Imperial Prince Higashifushiminomiya Yorihito and his wife Higashifushiminomiya Princess Kaneko cared for him like their own child. Since the Higashifushiminomiyas did not have any children, after consultation with Prince Kuniyoshi, they received the custody of 9-year-old Prince Kunihide for a long time, and the prince moved to the Higashifushiminomiya residence selecting the lucky day of October 26, 1919.

Prince Kunihide hosted the funeral when Prince Yorihito passed away. He was virtually a successor of Miyake (house of an imperial prince). However, because Former Imperial House Act did not permit Imperial families to adopt a child (article 42), Prince Kunihide was not allowed to succeed the Higashifushiminomiya family as a member of Miyake (house of an imperial prince). Higashifushiminomiya's parenting of Prince Kunihide was not authorized by the Imperial Household Agency with regard to adoption or the like.

Days in the peerage

Prince Kunihide reached adulthood in May 1930 to be an Imperial representative of the House of Peers, but, to take over religious services of the Higashifushiminomiya family, he asked for and received a family name of 'Higashifushimi' in April 1931 to become a peer with a countship. His natural father, Prince Kuniyoshi, hoped at the time that Kunihide would become a marquis, but in vain. Because he lost his membership in the Imperial family, he also lost his membership in the House of Peers.

After becoming Count Kunihide HIGASHIFUSHIMI, he issued "Hounsho" (Minyusha) in 1931, which is a book about Buddhist art.
"Hounsho" is a collection of his essays continued for four years, which started by posting his impression of a trip to Nara on a spring holiday in April 1924 to Gakushuin Hojinkai Magazine with a title of 'From Nara.'
He also played Haydn concerto on the piano in the New Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hidemaro KONOE in 1932 for a recording. This was the first recording of the Haydn concerto in the world.

Days as a Buddhist monk

After that, he became the chief priest of Shoren-in Monzeki Temple in Kyoto with a posthumous Buddhist name of Jigo in 1943, and remained the chief priest for a long time.

In the so-called 'old capital tax issue' in which Kyoto City Government severely fought against Kyoto Prefecture Buddhist Organization and Kyoto City Buddhist Organization from 1982 to 1988 leading to suspension of viewing in may temples and submission of an administrative lawsuit, he spearheaded the protest campaign as a president or a chairman of the Buddhist Organizations.

While major temples in the Tendai sect that Shoren-in Temple belongs to do not allow the heredity of the chief priest, he had a fierce conflict with the Tendai sect strongly insisting to give the position of the chief priest of Shoren-in, and he applied pressure implying secession from the sect, finally forcing the sect to allow heredity. As a result, he gave the position of the chief priest to his second son, Jiko, who was the chief steward of Shoren-in, in February 2004. He is currently the chairman of Kyoto Buddhist Organization and an honorary chief priest of Shoren-in Monzeki Temple.

[Original Japanese]