Volume 2, No. 8
August 10, 1992
A revealing study of the growing corruption within the head temple that nearly led to the destruction of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism five decades ago
(The following is based on a translation of an article from the August issue of Ushio magazine by Yoshikazu Abe, who has written articles and books exposing the transgressions of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood.)
Besides his expertise in mathematics, sociology and international relations, Dr. Johan Galtung, a native of Norway, is also a noted pioneer in peace studies. He is currently a professor of Peace Studies at the University of Hawaii. When he was 29, he founded the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO) and became its first director.
Dr. Galtung contributed to the establishment of peace studies as an academic research subject. In his book Buddhism: A Quest for Unity and Peace (Bukkyo Chowa to Heiwa o Motomete, published in Japanese by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy), Dr. Galtung examines a possible role for Buddhism in creating global harmony and peace. His penetrating insight sheds light on some key issues that Buddhist practitioners themselves have long forgotten.
Dr. Galtung’s viewpoints in the book’s first chapter, ‘Revitalizing Buddhism 20 merits and six demerits,’ are particularly interesting. Aside from the 20 merits of Buddhism, Dr. Galtung points out Buddhism’s shortcomings as follows:
1) Buddhism, because of its tolerant nature, sometimes endorses militarism and violence.
2) Buddhism tends to ignore structural violence in economic policy.
3) Buddhist clergy easily become self-righteous and removed from society.
4) Buddhism tends to curry favor with authority for financial rewards.
5) Buddhism easily resorts to the theory of karma as a pretext to accept defeat.
6) Buddhist clergy tend to become ritualistic and indulge in luxury.
Dr. Galtung’s points are all applicable to the current Nichiren Shoshu priesthood, as we can see in the following instances:
1) During World War II, the priesthood ingratiated itself with the military government and accepted Shinto. It punished the first and second Soka Gakkai presidents, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, for refusing to follow its order to accept Shinto.
2) It financially exploited believers. It is also engaged in unreasonable economic discrimination toward employees at the head and local temples.
3) While lacking in common sense and understanding of the reality of society, it holds the elitist view that priests are inherently superior to lay believers.
4) It ignores the slanderous behavior of temple believers who make substantial financial contributions and bestows special Gohonzon upon them.
5) It lacks the desire and initiative to propagate Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, simply accepting that kosen-rufu will be accomplished as a matter of course instead of struggling to achieve it as mandated by the Daishonin.
6) Many priests indulge themselves in luxury and pleasure-seeking, oblivious to the modest lifestyle required of them.
The priesthood submitted to the power of the Japanese military regime during World War II. As Aug. 15 the anniversary of Japan’s unconditional surrender in 1945 returns, this article scrutinizes the priesthood’s wartime behavior.
In 1936, Japan and Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact. Around the same time, Chiang Kai-shek intensified anti-Japan feelings in China. In 1937, Japanese military forces seized Peking, Tientsin, Shanghai, Nanking and Hangchow, getting mired deeper in the quicksand of the Sino-Japanese war.
On July 12, 1937, Nichiryu Mizutani, the 61st high priest of Nichiren Shoshu, received a notice from an undersecretary in the Ministry of Education the administrative agency for all religious organizations:
It is recommended that [Nichiren Shoshu] guide its believers and help them recognize the current situation, thus encouraging them to fulfill their duty as Japanese citizens and unite. [The Ministry of Education] hopes that [Nichiren Shoshu] will exert its utmost effort to inspire its believers with the national spirit, thereby leaving no regret for the future.
Nichiryu immediately responded by instructing the Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office to issue a special memorandum dated July 16 and stating:
The recent [China] incident exposes China’s insolence toward Japan. At this time we Japanese nationals must correctly understand the current situation…uphold the sacred will of the emperor…and display our sincere dedication to the service for the nation.
This memorandum further demands financial contributions from Nichiren Shoshu believers and affiliates, stating:
In light of the current critical situation, [the Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office] has decided to solicit financial contributions for the national defense, thus making known its sincere dedication to home-front support.
About two months later, on Sept. 27, 1937, the high priest issued an official directive. It first expresses the priesthood’s loyalty toward the emperor:
When we all affiliates of Nichiren Shoshu, including certified priests, student priests and lay believers humbly ponder [the current situation], we are awed by his majesty’s profound desire for peace and vast benevolence and mercy that embrace the world….
The directive, devoid of a proper understanding of the international situation, repeats the Japanese military regime’s propaganda regarding the Sino-Japanese war:
Betraying the friendship of her neighbor and acting in an untrustworthy manner, China has long insulted and resisted Japan as part of its policy. Without an iota of self-reflection, China finally violated the interest of the Empire. Eventually China’s unending outrageous acts led to the recent incident. This is our profound regret.
The directive continues:
We shall endure any hardship to show our sincere dedication and loyalty to serve our nation. We shall unite our hearts and uphold the true Japanese spirit in order to realize the unity of the entire Japanese nation. By taking the initiative in this regard, we shall aspire to increase the nation’s strength and glorify the eternally unchanging fortune of the emperor.
The directive concludes by urging all Nichiren Shoshu priests and lay believers to support the home-front campaign promoted by the government. At the beginning of September 1937, the Japanese cabinet issued an executive order to promote a ‘great national movement involving both the government and the people.’ This campaign was designed to ‘solidify the people’s resolve to support war efforts and ensure the thorough implementation of whatever is necessary toward this end.’
The executive order included concrete guidelines for the promotion of this national movement as follows: ‘It promotes: any home-front support activities; industrial productivity; savings; recycling metals; the community watch system [to suppress any anti-regime activity]; food production; conservation; the donation of weapons and sale of government bonds.’
In addition, each religious sect was instructed to make a concrete plan to support this movement among its believers and hold lecture meetings to promote the nationalistic spirit.
In response, the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood repeatedly issued various official documents to express its support for the government. The priesthood held Buddhist services to pray for ‘the nation’s increased dignity and eternal fortune to bring about victory’ and sponsored lectures to promote this military government’s campaign throughout the nation.
In October 1937, High Priest Nichiryu fell ill and retired. When Nikkyo Murakami succeeded him as 62nd high priest of Nichiren Shoshu, he contributed an inaugural address to Dai-Nichiren, the official publication of the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood. In this article, Nikkyo states:
His Majesty Emperor [Hirohito’s] magnificence is increasing all the more; his splendor is expanding throughout East Asia. Wherever our courageous and loyal imperial army advances, be it frosty and snowy North China or South China where cold gusty winds blow, it wages valiant battles, scoring victory after victory. I cannot possibly suppress my appreciation and excitement for this….
Nichiren Daishonin, the founder of our school, states in the Gosho, ‘Our nation of Japan surpasses not only India and China but all other eighty-thousand countries [throughout the entire continent of Jambudvipa]’ (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1519). As the Daishonin states, it is a matter of course that our Japanese nation has an inherent great mission for peace in the Far East. I believe that the recent [China] incident was an extremely natural course of action not only for the self-defense of our empire but for the eternal peace of East Asia and the welfare of humanity when viewed from the standpoint of justice and humanism.
[Translator’s note: This passage is from the Gosho titled ‘On the Emperors of the Divine Nation’ (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1516-26). The Daishonin discusses the theory that Japan, supposedly a divine nation founded by Shinto dieties and a country with many Buddhist temples and Mahayana Buddhists, is thus superior to other countries. He then poses a question referring to the four emperors who met tragic deaths. If Japan is superior, how then did the Buddha and dieties fail to protect its sovereigns? The Daishonin concludes that because the sovereigns and people of Japan fell under the influence of distorted religions, especially the esoteric Shingon teaching, all of Japan suffered. ]
Nikkyo distorted Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism to justify the Japanese aggression against China, thus currying favor with the military regime.
Around this time, almost every issue of Dai-Nichiren featured articles supporting the war efforts, including lectures sponsored by the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood to promote the national movement. One Nichiren Shoshu priest who frequently gave lectures was Jimon Ogasawara, then director of propagation. When Nikkyo started to launch his campaign to support the national movement, Ogasawara also started to propound in the monthly magazine Nichiren of the World (Sekai no Nichiren) of which Ogasawara himself was editor-in-chief the erroneous doctrine that the Shinto Sun Goddess (Tensho Daijin1) is the fundamental entity while the Buddha is its transient expression.
Ogasawara asserted that the Sun Goddess is true while Shakyamuni Buddha who, when viewed from the standpoint of the Buddhism of Sowing, represents Nichiren Daishonin as the original Buddha is transient because Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is not something that Nichiren Daishonin created. He explained that the Sun Goddess actually manifested Nam-myoho-renge-kyo a cosmic life embracing the entire universe, including all stars and planets and expounded it in this human world. Because the Sun Goddess precedes Shakyamuni (Nichiren Daishonin), it is logically difficult to accept that Shakyamuni (Nichiren Daishonin) is the original entity from which the Sun Goddess stemmed as its transient function, Ogasawara claimed.
Based on this distorted doctrine, which was totally unbefitting for Nichiren Shoshu’s director of propagation, Ogasawara continued to give lectures titled ‘The Long-term Holy War and the Revelation of Truth’ at various locations. His lectures were often covered in Dai-Nichiren to further promote his lecture series.
As director of propagation, Ogasawara was in charge of Buddhist study and propagation for Nichiren Shoshu. Unbecoming of his responsibility, however, he took the initiative to propound a completely erroneous doctrine, which can be in no way part of the Daishonin’s Buddhism.
Director of Propagation Koga Arimoto, Ogasawara’s predecessor, was also a nationalist-movement zealot. Arimoto was one of the active senior priests who plotted a coup d’etat against Nitchu Tsuchiya, the 58th high priest, and impeached him. At that time, Arimoto was general administrator of the Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office. In 1933, Arimoto wrote the book Declaration to Conduct a National Flag Ceremony.
In this book, Arimoto writes:
The national flag represents the entire nation and thus its sovereignty. It also represents the collective will of the nation. It also displays the nation’s majesty, power and honor….
The nation is something that must be protected through blood and death. By the same token, the national flag must be protected through blood and death as well.
Furthermore, Arimoto tries to justify his assertion using the Daishonin’s Buddhism:
The fundamental meaning of the establishment of Japan and the fundamental meaning of the establishment of the Hokke sect [Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism] are one and the same….
The fusion of government and religion will arrive without a shadow of doubt. How could we ever doubt this? This is the essential teaching that Nichiren Daishonin poured his blood and soul into and proclaimed loudly.
He essentially states that the national flag represents the Daishonin’s Buddhism itself. Arimoto installed a flagpole on the grounds of Myoko-ji temple in Shinagawa, Tokyo, of which he was chief priest. He invited the head of the Religious Bureau within the Ministry of Education to a national flag ceremony at his temple.
On April 1, 1938, the Japanese government issued the National Mobilization Act. In the same year, Japan entered Tsingtao, installed a Chinese puppet government in Nanking, withdrew from the League, and took Canton and Hankow. Nazi Germany started the persecution of the Jews.
In 1939, Japan occupied Hainan and blockaded the British concession in Tientsin, China. The Japanese government enacted the National Munitions Act and began drafting noncombatant Japanese for the war industries. On Sept. 1, Germany invaded Poland and annexed Danzig, thus starting World War II.
In 1940, Germany entered Paris. Japan, Germany and Italy signed a military and economic pact. The Japanese military regime began a national campaign for conservation with the slogan: ‘Luxury Is Our Enemy!’
In his 1940 New Year’s greetings, Nikkyo stated:
If we just protect the castle of the Law, we cannot reply to the Daishonin’s true intent. As he states, ‘Should an emergency arise, I will give my life for my lord’ (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 3, p. 224). Our sincere and loyal dedication to serve the nation and thus reply to His Majesty’s great expectation is the mission and life of us believers of Nichiren Shoshu.
In this address, he often quotes Gosho passages to support the war. Devoid of even a trace of desire to save the people and achieve world peace, he just frantically urged believers to give up their lives for the emperor. In Dai-Nichiren, the high priest wrote of his excitement in visiting the imperial palace on New Year’s Day. He also pressed believers to promote the ‘Day of Public Service and Development of Asia’ and requested their cooperation for the suspension of prices and the promotion of food production and conservation.
On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, starting the Pacific war. Delighted at this news, Nikkyo issued the following communique on the same day (Dec. 8 in Japan):
Today His Majesty [Emperor Hirohito] declared war on the United States of America and the United Kingdom. I can hardly suppress my awe and joy at this….
I ask that all believers summon forth the faith and practice they assiduously developed thus far and ensure victory in this great, unprecedented battle, through their resolve to endure any hardship and exert their utmost in their respective positions and capacities.
In the 1942 January Dai-Nichiren, the high priest stated:
The Daishonin states: ‘Myo represents death, and ho represents life’ (MW-1, 21). Myo also signifies that His Majesty’s splendor envelopes the world, and ho the fundamental decree [of the Sun Goddess bestowed upon her descendants to reign over Japan] as long as heaven and earth exist. In other words, to complete the founder’s true advent in this world, that is, to realize his words: ”The world’ is the nation of Japan’ (Gosho Zenshu, p. 803), we must fulfill the mission to spread His Majesty’s splendor throughout the world and display our sincere dedication to the service of the nation at the risk of our lives.
(Translator’s note: The entire section of the above Gosho passage from ‘The Orally Transmitted Teaching’ reads: ‘Miao-lo states in his commentary: ‘If children spread the father’s Law, the world will benefit.’ Here ‘children’ are Bodhisattvas of the Earth, ‘the father’ is Shakyamuni, ‘the world’ is the nation of Japan, ‘benefit’ is to attain Buddhahood, and the ‘Law’ is Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Now if I examine this yet again, ‘the father’ is Nichiren, ‘children’ are Nichiren’s disciples, ‘the world’ is the nation of Japan, ‘benefit’ is to attain Buddhahood through accepting and embracing [the Lotus Sutra], and the ‘Law’ is the daimoku that Bodhisattva Jogyo transmitted.’ ‘The world’ here includes Japan, but does not exclude other countries.)
It might have been extremely difficult for anyone to calmly observe the situation when the wartime frenzy swept the entire nation. Aside from the outburst of his narcissistic emotions, it is regrettable that Nikkyo did not have the intellect and sensibility to perceive the reality of the times.
Before the Pacific war broke out, the priesthood had already decided to cater to the military regime and Shinto. The priesthood’s internal documents revealed that the head temple administration, in fear of persecution from the military regime, ordered its priests to delete Gosho passages that could be offensive to Shinto and suspended its own publication of the Gosho. Although the priesthood bore the name of Nichiren Shoshu, or ‘orthodox’ school of Nichiren, in reality, it was undermining the founder’s teaching. It can be said that one of the distant causes of the current situation traces back to during World War II.
The Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office Study Department Memorandum No. 8 was issued on Sept. 29, 1941. Around this time, the government top officials were secretly preparing for the Pacific war in solidarity with the emperor. The memorandum states:
The Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office Study Department hereby decides to delete the following passages from The Selected Writings of Nichiren published by the Sessen Publishing Company and refrain from using them in sermons and lectures. Please be notified of the aforementioned.
The memorandum designates 14 Gosho passages to be omitted. All of these passages are integral to the fundamental teaching of Nichiren Daishonin.
For example, the priesthood deleted the following passage from ‘A Sage Perceives the Three Existences of Life’: ‘I am the foremost sage in the entire world’ (MW-2, 259). Here the Daishonin declares that he is the original Buddha who appeared in the Latter Day of the Law to save all people of the world. The priesthood, however, feared that this could offend government officials who held that the Sun Goddess was the foremost deity of the world and the direct ancestor of the Japanese imperial family. Regarding the Daishonin as ‘the foremost sage in the entire world,’ or the original Buddha, constitutes the foundation of faith in the Daishonin’s Buddhism.
The priesthood also decided to delete Gosho passages referring to the Sun Goddess. For example, the following passages from ‘On the Buddha’s Behavior’ were deleted. ‘Tensho Daijin and Hachiman2 are respected as tutelary gods of this country, but they are only minor gods compared with Bonten, Taishaku, the gods of the sun and moon, and the Four Heavenly Kings’ (MW-1, 190). ‘I am the envoy of Shakyamuni Buddha, and those gods [Tensho Daijin and Hachiman] should prostrate themselves before me with their palms joined’ (MW-1, 190). The priesthood considered these passages disrespectful to the Sun Goddess.
These passages, however, contain important teachings in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism regarding the functions of the Buddhist gods or shoten zenjin. The Daishonin views the Sun Goddess as no more than functions that protect those who have faith in the Mystic Law. In Shinto, however, the Sun Goddess is an absolute existence whom even the emperor worships.
Gosho passages pertaining to the sovereign were also deleted, such as the following passages considered inappropriate by the priesthood: ‘All sovereigns of the nations in the entire world represent transient functions of Lord Shakyamuni. The true identity of Tensho Daijin and Great Bodhisattva Hachiman is Lord Shakyamuni’ (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1187). ‘To all living beings of this nation of Japan, Shakyamuni Buddha is a sovereign, teacher and parent. Even gods and emperors throughout the seven reigns of heavenly gods, the five reigns of earthly gods, and the 90 reigns from the first human emperor are but retainers of Shakyamuni Buddha’ (Gosho Zenshu, p. 1410). [Translator’s note: ‘The seven reigns of heavenly gods and the five reigns of earthly gods’ refers to native deities said to have ruled Japan before the time of the first emperor, Jimmu.]
These Gosho passages indicate that the original Buddha Nichiren Daishonin, who is represented by Shakyamuni is an embodiment of the fundamental Law permeating all phenomena in the universe. In comparison, deities and sovereigns represent transient functions of the original Buddha. This should be the fundamental teaching for believers of the Daishonin’s Buddhism. The priesthood’s decision to delete the passages that contain this important teaching is beyond comprehension.
One month before issuing Study Department Memorandum No. 8, the Nichiren Shoshu Administrative Office issued a memo that appears to lay the groundwork for its subsequent decision to delete the Gosho passages. Memorandum No. 2177, dated Aug. 24, 1941, was addressed to all certified Nichiren Shoshu priests. According to the memo, the Senior Executive Council directed the Advisory Board on the following two points.
First, the memo states that because Nichiren Daishonin’s writings were written more than 700 years ago in the Kamakura period, when the social context was significantly different from the present, people today might doubt the Daishonin’s desire to respect the emperor and protect his empire. Thus, the memo goes on to explain, the priesthood decided to suspend the publication of the Gosho. It also adds that the priesthood planned to publish a small pamphlet titled The Selected Writings of the Founder.
The priesthood was concerned that government officials would misunderstand the 14 Gosho passages regarding Shinto deities and the emperor. The memo indicates that the priesthood, afraid of offending Shinto and the military regime, tried to circumvent any possible oppression from the military regime.
After the passing of Nichiren Daishonin, the five senior priests burned or destroyed, through the paper-recycling process, some of the Gosho the Daishonin wrote to believers in the common people’s language of his day. They tried to justify their action by saying that they did this to purge their ‘late master’s shame.’ The modern-day priesthood’s decision to suspend publication of the Gosho and the subsequent deletion of some passages, amounts to the same sort of slander that the five senior priests committed.
Second, in its efforts to tailor Nichiren Daishonin’s spirit to fit within the narrow framework of militarism and imperialism, the priesthood tried to obviate the Daishonin’s teaching that the Buddha is true while deities are transient. Labeling this fundamental teaching as a ‘vulgar belief in Buddhism,’ the memo then states that Nichiren Shoshu would downplay the significance of the teaching. Special attention, it warns, must be paid when expounding this belief because of the present circumstances.
The teaching that the Buddha is true while deities are transient is an essential concept of Buddhism elucidating the relationship between Shakyamuni Buddha (or Nichiren Daishonin himself when viewed from the standpoint of Buddhism of Sowing) and the Buddhist gods, including the Sun Goddess. Deities, the doctrine explains, represent the transient functions of the Buddha. Their relationship can be compared to that of body (the Buddha) and its shadow (the Buddhist gods). Because the doctrine completely countermands the military regime’s view that the Sun Goddess as an absolute existence, the priesthood, in fear of incurring persecution, compromised its own belief.
Two days before Memorandum No. 2177 (Aug. 24, 1941), the Administrative Office issued Memorandum No. 2176. This memo states that although various versions of the silent prayers were available at that time, the Administrative Office would be adopting a revised version henceforth. The revised first silent prayer, for example, reads:
I humbly thank the Sun Goddess, the ancestor of the emperor, and all emperors of the successive reigns since the time of first Emperor Jimmu for the great debt of gratitude I owe to them. I also offer benefits that I derive from the Law to the gods of the sun and moon and all other deities the guardians of the Empire. I sincerely wish that they mercifully accept my offerings.
One may well mistake this for a Shinto prayer. The priesthood decorated the entire silent prayers throughout from first to fifth with words and expressions supporting the divinity of the emperor and the nationalistic views of the military regime. The priesthood’s prompt and enthusiastic support of war indicates that it had degenerated into the antithesis of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism a teaching based on humanistic values such as the dignity of life, freedom and equality.
In March 1941, the Peace Preservation Act was completely revised. That year, as seen above, the priesthood, which already had been supportive of the military regime, made further drastic decisions, one after another, to endorse nationalistic views based on Shinto.
The purpose in revising the act was to crack down on religious organizations not supportive of the military regime. Any organization that ‘propagates views that deny the sovereignty of the nation or slight the dignity of Shinto shrines or the imperial family’ was subjected to severe punishment, including the death penalty. Simply put, the priesthood waved a white flag in the face of government oppression.
Only the Soka Gakkai upheld the Daishonin’s spirit, resisted the dark storm of the government authority and experienced honorable persecution for the sake of the Law.
Members of the then Soka Kyoiku Gakkai, centering on the first president, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, courageously practiced and propagated the Daishonin’s Buddhism. This led to the imprisonment of President Makiguchi and General Director Josei Toda. Makiguchi eventually died in prison.
In contrast, within the priesthood, faith died with the decision to compromise the Daishonin’s spirit and support the military regime. One elderly priest recounted his memories of the head temple during World War II: ‘Back then, every day was so depressing that none in particular left any significant impression on me. We attended funerals, together with priests from other slanderous Buddhist sects, of those who died in action. We didn’t question our behavior at all. All we were concerned about were air raids by American bombers and how we would get food to survive each day. Although we were priests, we didn’t care about Buddhism.’
Young priests were recruited. The current high priest, Nikken Abe, was one of them. He was then a student at Rissho University, a school established by the Minobu sect. As a second lieutenant in the navy, he was assigned to an anti-aircraft emplacement in Hakodate, Hokkaido. He once proudly reminisced of his days in military service: ‘Every day I had nothing to do. My daily chore was to line up my subordinates and hit them on their buttocks with a thick wooden club called a ‘spiritual stick.”
What the priesthood gained from the long, miserable war was a lack of self-awareness of its slander and servility toward authority, as well as indolence and violence, instead of the sincere pursuit of the Buddhist philosophy as religious practitioners, a sense of responsibility for war and a renewed desire for peace.
Although the priesthood completely lost the Daishonin’s spirit during World War II, it still experienced the benefit of the refreshing breeze of faith after the war, brought about through the efforts of the Soka Gakkai. Now that the priesthood is attempting to destroy the Soka Gakkai, however, it has reverted to its slanderous nature.
During World War II, the priesthood committed the grave offense of betraying the Daishonin by supporting militarism. It deleted important Gosho passages, suspended publication of the Gosho and revised the silent prayers to suit State Shinto and support the military regime. Now Nikken Abe has been committing even graver offenses as he tries to destroy the Daishonin’s Buddhism and obstruct the flow of kosen-rufu.
Forty-seven years have passed since the end of World War II. Through the long-standing, sincere dedication of the Soka Gakkai to the priesthood’s development, the head temple grounds bristle with magnificent structures without a trace of its post-war devastation. In reality, however, the head temple has now turned into a breeding ground of slanderers.
1. Tensho Daijin: Also Amaterasu Omikami. The Sun Goddess in Japanese mythology, who was later adopted as a protective god in Buddhism. According to the oldest extant histories, the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) and the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan), she was the chief deity and also the progenitor of the imperial clan. In many of his writings, Nichiren Daishonin views Tensho Daijin as a personification of the workings of the universe that protect the prosperity of those who have faith in the True Law.
2. Hachiman: One of the main deities in Japanese mythology, along with Tensho Daijin (Sun Goddess). There are several views on how he came to be worshiped. According to one explanation, in the reign of the 29th emperor, Kimmei, the god Hachiman appeared as a smith in Usa, Kyushu, southern Japan, and declared that in a past life he had been Emperor Ojin, the 15th emperor. His aid was sought in his capacity as the god of smiths when the great image of Vairochana was erected at Todai-ji temple in Nara, and from then on, Hachiman came to be increasingly associated with Buddhism. Early in the Heian period (794-1185), the imperial court named him Great Bodhisattva, an early example of the fusion of Buddhist and Shinto elements. Around the mid-ninth century Hachiman was revered as a protector of the capital, and later, with the rise of the samurai class, he was particularly venerated by the Minamoto clan. In the latter 12th century, Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura shogunate, built a Hachiman shrine at Tsurugaoka in Kamakura, and, with the spread of the samurai government, the worship of Hachiman as a protective deity of the villages became predominant throughout Japan. In the Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin views Hachiman as a personification of the function promoting the agricultural fertility of a land whose inhabitants embrace the True Law.