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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Bonshun
(1553-1632)
Shinto practitioner and Buddhist priest of the Azuchi-Momoyama and early Edo periods. He went by such epistolary names as Shinryūin and Ryūgen. Born in 1553 as the son of Yoshida Kanemigi, advocate of Yoshida Shintō, his elder brother was the Shintoist Yoshida Kanemi. As the inheritor of the Shinto tradition in the lineage of founder Yoshida Kanetomo, Bonshun actively collated and transcribed ancient texts, of which many examples remain in the Yoshida Collection (Yoshida Bunko, in the possession of Tenri Library). He also had close ties with the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and, along with his brother Kanemi, was involved in the establishment of the shrine to Hideyoshi's spirit, the Toyokuni Jinja, serving as the bettō (Buddhist indendant) of the Toyokuni Buddhist-Shinto shrine complex (jingūji).
      He later became close to the first Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, lecturing to him on Shinto divinities, and even attempted to initiate him in the secret teachings of the Yoshida clan. Upon Ieyasu's death in 1616, a Yoshida Shintō funeral ceremony was conducted under the direction of Bonshun at the Shōgun's grave at Kunōzan, which in the years following became the site of the great shrine Tōshōgū. However, following objections from the priest Tenkai, funeral services were convened once again, this time according to the style of Sannō Ichijitsu Shintō.
      Bonshun died on the eighteenth day of the first month of 1632 at the age of eighty. His diary, which chronicles events from 1583 to the year of his death, remains extant. This text, known as the Bonkyūki (Ancient Diary of Bonshun) or the Bonshun nikki (Diary of Bonshun), serves not only as a chronicle of his life, but also an invaluable resource that describes events and conditions of that era.
- Itō Satoshi
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
4-10-28 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-8440, Japan
URL http://21coe.kokugakuin.ac.jp/
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