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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Kawatsura Bonji
(1862-1929)
Founder of the religious foundation Miitsukai, focused on the practice of misogi or ablutions in water. His formal name was Tsuneji, and he also went by the family name Hasuike. He used the epistolary names Denzan and Kaorinoya, and went by the name Renge Hōin while a disciple at the Buddhist temple Dentsūin. Born on the first day of the fourth month of 1862 as the second son of Kawatsura Nizaemon, a local gentry living near the shrine Usa Jingū (in present-day Oita Prefecture).
       From his early years, Kawatsura undertook ascetic training in the mountains surrounding his home village. He later traveled to Tokyo, where he became a Buddhist acolyte at Dentsūin temple in the district of Koishikawa. He wrote for newspapers, and in the spring of 1906 founded a religious association called Dainippon Sekaikyō Miitsukai (which received official recognition as a religious foundation under the name Miitsukai in 1921). From 1909 Kawatsura's style of misogi ritual, ostensibly based on ritual forms revealed to him by his ancestral kami (sojin), became more widely known, and he began to hold the rites publicly in 1917.
       After this, due to the efforts of Imaizumi Sadasuke (1863-1944) and others, misogi practices came to be adopted by the Jingū Service Foundation (Jingū Hōsaikai, an association of devotees of the Grand Shrines of Ise; see Ise Jingū) and the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (Taiseiyoku Sankai) as part of their cycle of annual events, and these rituals are in common with those performed today by serving Shinto priests. Kawatsura died on February 23, 1929, at the age of sixty-eight. He was the author of many works, including Koten kōgiroku and Dainippon shinten. A majority of his written works and transcripts of his lectures were published in ten volumes between 1939-40 in the Kawatsura Bonji zenshū (Complete Works of Kawatsura Bonji).

- Tsushiro Hirofumi
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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