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Suden Ishin

  • Biography
1569-1633. A Rinzai-shu Buddhist priest. The second-born son of Yoshiteru Ashikaga’s retainer, Hidekatsu Isshiki. Suden was the follower of Priest Tokurin Seishuku of Nanzen Temple of Konchi-in Temple in Kyoto, and in 1605 he became the chief priest, making him the 270th generation of chief priests of Nanzen Temple when he was only 37. He was treated preferentially by Ieyasu Tokugawa and had a role in external affairs, administration of temples and shrines, drafting of laws, and the suppression of Christians. He showed his abilities as a top adviser in making laws that formed the foundation of the Tokugawa shogunate. He also worked actively in the literary field, collecting and duplicating old books. He was the founder of the Edo Konchi-in Temple. He is commonly known as Konchi-in Suden.

  • Association with Minato City
The black-robed priest participated in important affairs of the shogunate administration and opened the Konchi-in Temple in Shiba

In the first half of his life, Priest Suden reached the top of his profession by achieving the revival of Konchi-in. In his later life, he participated in the administration of three generations of shoguns, Ieyasu, Hidetada, and Iemitsu, and was called the Black-robed Chancellor. By the order of Ieyasu, he built two Konchi-in Temples: in 1610 in Sunpu and in 1618 in Shiba. He traveled between Kyoto and Edo governing the temples under Rinzaishu Gozan as the head official. He also wrote books, such as Honko Kunishi Nikki related to the Buddhist name Ensho Honko Kokushi Nikki (the Honko Kokushi Journal), and a record of diplomatic affairs Ikoku Nikki (Journal on Foreign Countries). However, his health was affected by years of arduous duty, and in spite of the treatment administered by an able physician ordered sent to him by Iemitsu, he died at the Konchi-in Temple in Shiba. Legend has it that he drew up his will just before his death and inscribed his death poem, using all his strength in his last hour. His body was cremated and buried in Konchi-in Temple in Kyoto. At the temple in Shiba, there is also the tomb of the Chinese philosopher Kyoan Hori, who was active in early Edo. The area where the Tokyo Tower stands was the temple grounds of the old Konchi-in Temple.

Japanese Biographical Dictionary (Kodansha)
Asahi Nihon Rekishi Jinbutsu Jiten (Asahi Historical Japanese Personages Dictionary) Asahi Shimbunsha)
Jiten Nihon no Meiso (Dictionary of Famous Japanese Priests) (Yoshikawa Kobunkan)
Kyo no Kodera kara 30: Konchi-in (From the Old Temples of Kyoto 30: Konchi-in Temple) (Genryu Sasaki / Tankosha)

  • Walking Points
Konchi-in (3-5-4 Shiba Koen)

  • Literary Works
Ikoku Nikki - Konchi-in Suden Gaiko Bunsho Shusei Ei-inbon (Journal on Foreign Countries - Konchi-in Temple Suden Diplomatic Papers Collection Photocopy) (Tokyo Bijutsu)
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  • Related Publications
Sengoku no Sanbo Tachi (Staff Officers of the Civil War Period) (Tetsuo Kowada / Jitsugyo no Nihonsha)
Tokugawa Ieyasu (Koichi Niki/Chikuma Shinsho)
Zusetsu Tokugawa Ieyasu -- Fukuro no Hon (Illustrated Book of Ieyasu Tokugawa - The Owl Book) (Edited by the editorial office of Kawade Shobo Shinsha / Kawade Shobo Shinsha)
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