Kiyozawa Manshi (清沢満之)

Manshi KIYOZAWA, August 10, 1863 - June 6, 1903 was a Japanese philosopher and Buddhist monk in the Meiji period. His original family name was Tokunaga. His childhood name was Mannosuke. His Ingo (posthumous Buddhist name) was Shinryokuin. His Homyo (posthumous honorary title) from Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) was Shakugenjo.

Kenpo (Rising Peak) Period

He was the son of an Owari clansman, Naganori TOKUNAGA, from Nagoya in Owari Province (present day Nagoya City). He entered English school and medical school but when both were closed, he gave up the idea of a career in those fields.

In February 1878, he entered the Buddhist priesthood, becoming a monk of the Otani school of Jodo Shinshu, and after entering Higashi Hongan-ji's Ikuei School, he was chosen to go to the University of Tokyo's preparatory school (Tokyo Yobimon), graduating from the university's Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Letters with highest honors in 1887. While a student, he founded the 'Philosophical Society' together with Enryo INOUE and others, and edited the first edition of the "Journal of the Society of Philosophy" in February 1887. He specialized in religious philosophy at graduate school. He was involved in the founding of Tetsugakukan (Private Academy of Philosophy; present-day Toyo University).

In July 1888, he was asked by the Otani school of Jodo Shinshu to became principal of Kyoto Prefecture Junior High School, which was run by the sect and, at the same time, he also lectured at Takakura Daigaku-ryo; later, he married Yasuko KIYOZAWA and became the chief priest of Saiho-ji Temple in Hekinan City, Aichi Prefecture.

Gaikotsu (Skeleton) Period

He resigned from his position as the principal of Kyoto Prefecture Junior High School. Around that time, he started to practice the so-called "Minimum Possible," leading a life of abstinence and self-denial with minimal comfort. While maintaining this lifestyle, academically he repeatedly read texts such as "Tannisho" (Lamentations of Divergences) and while practicing self-discipline, he introduced his "being philosophical," which was the area of his specialty, and wrote "Shukyo Tetsugaku Gaikotsu" (The Skeleton of a Philosophy of Religion) and "Tarikimon Tetsugaku Gaikotsu" (The Skeleton of a Philosophy of Gate of the Other Power). His "Shukyo Tetsugaku Gaikotsu," published in August 1892, became well-known after being translated into English at the World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in September 1893.

Sekisui (Stone Water) Period

He developed pulmonary tuberculosis in 1894, and moved to Shirakawa Village, Otagi District, Kyoto Prefecture (present day Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City) in 1896. He founded the Shirakawa Party to push for reform of the sect. He published "Kyokaijigen" (Timely Words for the Religious World) together with Kakushin IMAGAWA and Masamaru INABA, proposed and promoted various reforms with the expectation of modernizing Higashi Hongan-ji Temple's organization and educational system and often opposed temple authorities until he was expelled from the sect.

Rosen (December Fan) Period

His expulsion was resolved in 1898 and in September the following year, he set up a private school, Kokodo, in Hongo-Morikawa, Tokyo, which produced many Shinshu and Buddhist scholars such as Kanae TADA, Gessho SASAKI, and Haya AKEGARASU. He released the first issue of the journal "Seishinkai" (The Spiritual World) at Kokodo in 1901. In the same year, he became dean of Shinshu University, which was founded in Sugamo, Tokyo by Higashi Hongan-ji Temple (Later, the university was merged with Takakura Daigaku-ryo and moved to Kyoto, and the name changed to Shinshu Otani University; present-day Otani University), but he resigned the following year.

Hinpu (Coastal Wind) Period

He died from a worsening of his pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 39 in Saiho-ji Temple on June 6, 1903, without seeing his reforms completed.

Due to his education in modern Western philosophy, he was able to better understand the beliefs of Jodo Shinshu and introduce it to modern ideas and, on the basis of his education and faith, he greatly contributed to propelling the modernization of Buddhism both domestically and internationally. His sincere faith is evident in the literary works of his last years. His writings are listed in "Kiyozawa Manshi Zenshu (Collected Works of Kiyozawa Manshi)" published by Iwanami Shoten.

Major Works

Shukyo Tetsugaku Gaikotsu
Tarikimon Tetsugaku Gaikotsu
Waga Shinnen (My faith), final work

[Original Japanese]