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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Tenkai
(1536?-1643)
A Tendai Buddhist Monk of the Azuchi-Momoyama and early Edo periods, known as the founder of Sannō Ichijitsu Shintō.
        Tenkai came from Takada, Aizu (in present-day Fukushima Prefecture); several theories concerning his date of birth exist. His epistolary name was first Zuifū, which he changed to Tenkai in 1590. He met Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1608 (1590, according to one version) and was treated with favor. He was appointed Head Abbot of Mount Nikkō in 1613.
        At the time of Ieyasu's death in 1616, he was embroiled in conflict with Bonshun of Shinryūin and Sūden of Konjiin, both of whom insisted on holding a funeral in the style of Yoshida Shintō. Tenkai prevailed in this conflict, and Ieyasu was consecrated and enshrined according to the rituals of Tendai Sannō Ichijitsu Shintō. When imperial permission was conferred on Ieyasu to receive the posthumous name Tōshō Daigongen (1616), Tenkai assisted in transporting Ieyasu's remains to a mausoleum at Nikkō. He also worked to build the shrine Tōshōgū there. He compiled a history of the shrine called Tōshō Daigongen engi in 1639. He died in 1643, and was given the posthumous title Great Master Jigen (Jigen Daishi) in 1648.

—Satō Masato
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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