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2020年 07月 12日

6 Feud with Tojo Kagenobu (1)

          Japanese edition

The disturbance happened in the Seichoji temple area of the hometown of Nichiren of Awa country.

Brutal samurais blockade the front door of the temple.

Farmers shuddered.

Samurais and vassals got into the house of the farmer rudely and threw a rice-transplanting tool outside.

“It has been decided that this land belongs to our landlord, Tojo Kagenobu. You must leave immediately."

Families of the farmer cry.

Vassals stand at each corner of the large fields with a long sword.

The Tojo Kagenobu of the land steward sits down on a folding stool and is satisfied. He intended to occupy the fields of the Seichoji temple by military power at a stretch.

During this period, there was constant friction at the boundary between the landowners, who were the deputies of the Kamakura shogunate, and the old lords. Yoritomo Minamoto who established the Kamakura Shogunate gives orders to control the tyranny of the land steward many times. But it was accompanied by difficulty to stop the greed of a samurai who had awakened to power.

Blinding sheets of rain poured into the roof tile of the Seichoji temple.

The nun O'ama and Dozen-bo, the other priests, a village headman, and farmers are gathering in the temple.

Everybody was tired from the frequent fight with Kagenobu, and people who gathered were not able to hide a resigned look.

"They are demanding that the Seicho-ji and Futama temples be turned over to them immediately."

“Stupid! It is a land of ancestors. He should not have the authority to take away land, even if he is the land steward”.

"The nun O'ama, how about an appeal to Kamakura? We who live in the country do not have a method and can carry nothing out”.

The attitude of O'ama is unusually weak, unlike the aggressive voice of the believers of the Seichoji temple.

"The land steward is a government official of the Kamakura Shogunate. Even I cannot interfere in his”.

Her husband of O'ama is said to be Tomotoki who is the younger brother in Yasutoki Hojo.  She was an influential branch family of Hojo, but could not intervene to the head family command of the Shogunate.

"Then, we cannot but swallow it, can we?"

Weak Dozen-bo of the mind watches a complexion around and considers.

"How about a way to appeal to the Shogunate with Hieizan on our side?"

Disciple Joken-bo reproved the teacher softly.

"Teacher. Now is the world of the samurai family now. There is not it with the thing which comes true even if a Buddhist priest protests them”.

Enchi-bo of the elder persuades Dozen-bo.

“Lord Kagenobu is not saying that he will smash this temple. He intends to manage the temple land for a short time. If so, we cannot but assort with him”.

Enchi-bo suggested compromise. Can they not win against a crying child and a lord? It was dark, and all the members were depressed.

They heard a voice from the back at this time.

"Please wait a little, everybody.”

When everybody turned around, Nichiren, who was wearing dripping wet rainwear, stood.

Farmers stood up with pleasure unintentionally.

Joken-bo was pleased too.

"Oh, Nichiren! I am glad to see you again.”

Gijo-bo beats the shoulder of Nichiren a little.

"How are the propagation activities of Kamakura? Is there anything you need help with?”

Nichiren was smiling unlike the air of the place.

"I have trouble with procurement of the daily food, but I am living thanks to the offering from a new believer somehow."

Nichiren took off his rainwear and sat with his legs bent.

"I've heard the stories well. What's your plan, sir?”

Everybody has fallen silent.

Nichiren began to talk slowly after a time.

"How about filing a complaint with the High Court?"

All the members looked up.

“It is one of the duties of the Shogunate to supervise the tyranny of the land steward. If we, the existing lord of a manor, appeal to the High Court of justice, it should be able to be settled.”

Nun O'ama seems to be uneasy.

"However, the court judge is an official of the Shogunate. What are the chances of winning? "

Nichiren looked at nun O'ama and spoke to her.

“As for this matter, we have justice. It is the land steward who has invaded the territory of the Seichoji temple. We can win if we appeal this to the front. In the first place there is no method to protect the territory other than this.”

One of the farmers muttered.

"Should we go to Kamakura on purpose?"

Enchi-bo said to Nichiren in a condescending manner.

“It may be too optimistic to appeal to the courts and win. The person good at a trial is not here. Besides, the trial takes money and time. What must we do when we are defeated? Nichiren, do you think that it might be easy?”

 Nichiren looked around the believers of the Seichoji temple, paying attention to him, and answered them flatly.

“I entered this temple at 12 years old and trained myself. My parents received help from the nun O'ama, too. At any cost, I want to return your favor. What does everyone think about this?”

All members were lost in thought, but the farmer who went to the thatched hut of Nichiren spoke, grasping his fist.

"We should appeal. We are the yes-men of the power all the time if we give it up here.”

The village headman began to agree.

“Yes, it's true!”

Everybody gathered surrounding Nichiren.

             敷物 が含まれている画像自動的に生成された説明

A copy of 'the Formulary of Adjudications', Goseibai Shikimoku, transcribed in the 17th century. Collection of the Tōyō Bunko, Tokyo. From Wikipedia.


The beginning of the courthouse of the Kamakura Shogunate is from the own residence of Yoritomo Minamoto. Yoritomo prepared another entrance hall into the home and attached a signboard of the small "Courthouse." It is the first court in Japan.

The place of appeal was not established before this. The trial remained a tyranny by the court nobles in Kyoto. It was epoch-making that Yoritomo established the place of the trial.

However, we are not getting along.

Yoritomo was enthusiastic to settle anything by himself, but people who have the appeals to count on him increase remarkably and come over from the whole country. Disgusted by the shouts and disputes exchanged within his compound, Yoritomo ordered the moving of the High Court.

The High Court of Law of Kamakura is a formal building.

The entrance was crowded with samurai and the farmers who had the petition.

There was a hall facing the garden.

There is the judge in the center, and a clerk of a law-court is on his side. Furthermore, the government official watching the progress behind waits.

The court case of these times was held by letter at first. The defendant and plaintiff have a showdown with each other by letter three times. A showdown was carried out in a court last.

Nichiren wrote about the tyranny of Kagenobu in the letter of the trial and appealed to the High Court of Law. The Court of Law hands this to Kagenobu. Kagenobu makes an explanation book and holds it out to the High Court of Law. A statement meant this. The High Court of Law hands this statement to the Seichoji Temple side and lets them refute it. They performed this repetition three times. It is the three appeals and three explanations.
 The High Court of Law performs only the examination of the letter. They do not check it in oneself even if they may be suspicious. If it is suspected, both the person who appealed and who was accused had to prove it by oneself. There is not the lawyer of the primary occupation like the court case of modern times. The High Court of Law called both sides last and let them make the oral proceedings and concluded a hearing.

Nichiren was familiar with the law, such as the Formulary of Adjudications besides the study of the Buddha's Law. He used this text and wrote the complaint and refuted the description of the land steward.

On the other hand, Kagenobu intended to pass it by force. He ruled over the fields of the Seichoji temple and was going to change the temple into the Nenbutsu sect. He thus sought support from Hojo Shigetoki, who was an assistant to regent Hojo Tokiyori and held the position of Joint Signature (note). Shigetoki is the strong belief of Nembutsu as the builder of Gokurakuji temple and was called Lord Gokurakuji. His influential power against the courthouse overwhelmed the Seicho-ji Temple side.

Three appeals and three explanations were over, and the day of the showdown came.

Tojo Kagenobu appeared in the garden of the courthouse. He has been as arrogant as ever.

"No, I'm tired of waiting. I've waited long enough. Their silly complaint has interfered with my service to the lord. It is beyond annoying.”

The executive officer put his hands on the floor.

“Well, well! Lord Tojo, you came here specially. It was tiring for you”.
The clerk of the court told him.

"Next, each one of the Seicho-ji Temple.”

Village headman, farmers, Gijo-bo, and Joken-bo appeared. Finally, Dozen-bo appeared weak.

The judge declares a start of the oral argument.

“We judge from now on about the territory of the Seichoji temple.”

Joken-bo of the Seichoji Temple appears before.

“Originally the Seicho-ji Temple was the Tendai sect. This is the historical temple existing before the times of Lord Yoritomo. Kagenobu, the land steward, is occupying it without permission, and it is outrageous to recapture our land. The Law of Buddha is going to become extinct now. We demand that we stop the offense of the land steward promptly.”

Kagenobu argues.

“This Kagenobu is the person who was entrusted with the part of Awa according to the direction of lord Kamakura. I understand the Seicho-ji is a formal temple, but there is a problem in managing it.”

People on the Seicho-ji Temple side trembled with anger and stared at Kagenobu.

“They do not obey various kinds of laws, and they seem not to have an interest in Nembutsu that most of the Japanese believe in. Furthermore, the Buddhist priest who called Nembutsu the hell of the incessant suffering appeared. When it comes, as a land steward keeping nearby land, I cannot let them alone. I decided that I should manage them under the samurai for around three years.”

The judge gives the Seichoji temple side an icy look.

“Is there anything that the residents here would like to appeal to?”

The village headman of the Seichoji area appeared.

“We have lived by protection of the Buddhist priests of the Seichoji temple during these several hundred years. We farmers are not able to stand for it if the samurai becomes the new master…”

The village headman was startled and covered his mouth with his hand.

The judge caviled at his words.

“Not able to stand for it…?”

Kagenobu burst into laughter.

The judge is disgusted.

“I am a samurai, too. If it is a temple with many problems, a land steward having high ability for peace and discipline should manage it. Besides, Lord Kagenobu establishes the time limit of three years. The Seichoji temple may be able to reconcile with each other by the condition of this time limit.”

Joken-bo shouted.

“A limited deadline is a common means of a ruler!”

Gijo-bo was going to stand up too, but the village headman stopped him. After all, are they not able to win against someone who doesn't listen to reason?
Kagenobu was convinced of winning the case and he flashed his smile. The superiority is clear.

The Judge nodded to Kagenobu.

“This judgment will be the day after tomorrow.”

When the Judge was going to stand up, a voice broke out.

“Please wait!”

That voice was of Nichiren.


the Joint Signature

Post of the Kamakura Shogunate. It is the assistant of the regent and is located in the situation of “the vice-regent” substantially. It is the beginning that Yasutoki Hojo appointed Tokifusa Hojou as his uncle in 1224. Because he signed the official document of the Shogunate by a joint signature with the regent, it was called the joint signature. A system to suppress the regent's monopolizing.

テーブル, カップ, 食品, 座る が含まれている画像自動的に生成された説明

"Buddhist priest of the Seichoji Temple, Nichiren states it. Seichoji is the venerable temple which has inherited a tradition of the Great Teacher Dengyo, and has lasted for 500 years. Is it not too rapid to place in the protection of the land steward easily now? The temple respects Buddha for the last and is a place of the faith that all creatures are rescued by Buddha. A temple is not a place for the mundane.”

Kagenobu takes the sword.

“It is that man who is saying the Nembutsu is the hell of incessant suffering!”

The clerk reproved Kagenobu who was excited.

“Dear Tojo, we are discussing the territory problem here, not discussing the doctrine of Buddhism.”

Nichiren continues.

“And one more. Is this court not the place that both a samurai and the farmer and of course priests treat closely impartially?”

The judge said ceremoniously.

"It is true."

“If so, should you not do judgment in conformity with common sense as written in the Formulary of Adjudications without being afraid of authority without hesitating to the around?"


“If so, it is clear that our Seichoji Temple is guiltless. It is the fair judgment that a court confiscates the land of the land steward and gives to the Seichoji Temple as the non-guilty according to the Formulary of Adjudications to ban a reckless land steward who embezzled land without permission”.

The Tojo side leaned forward this time.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Kagenobu stood up, but he was stopped by the subordinate.

Similarly, the Seichoji Temple side thought they would lose if they remained silent and they raised a voice and fought back.

The Court official quiets it, but both booing does not stop. The judge decided to stop it in a hurry.

"Be still! Today's trial ended with this.”

That night, a group of monks and peasants gathered at an inn in Kamakura.

Everybody crosses their arms, and they look anxious.

The farmer told in whispered tones.

"There may not be any winning chances with the state of the trial."

"The other party is a samurai family. There will be supporters of the land steward too. Ten to one, it will be defeated."

They become pessimistic against the land steward. Farmers were depressed, but they noticed there were people who were absorbed in talking in the corner of the room.

The center of the ring was Nichiren. He grasps the Lotus Sutra with his hand.

Joken-bo and Gijo-bo and others listen to the instruction of Nichiren seriously.

"Must not give up. Even timidity is not good. Now the real competition begins. Even if the opponent is a samurai, reason will always prevail. The tyranny of the land steward cannot be good for being permitted. Everybody, it is just a little more patience".

Joken-bo tuned with him.

“So. That's right. Priest Nichiren is right. It is time that our Seichoji Temple becomes one in body and mind now.”

Gijo-bo had a sparkle in his eye.

"Priest Nichiren, you spoke well. You are reliable!”

Nichiren grasped the scroll of sutras and stood up.

"We only pray afterward". If this Lotus Sutra has power, the wish should surely come true. It is the time to try the power of the title now.”

Enchi-bo of the elder stood in the way there.

"Nichiren, what kind of nonsense are you talking to the land steward? The Seichoji Temple will be extinct because of you. A devil is possessing you who says Nembutsu is hell. It is certain that the trial loses. Leave here early!”

Everyone was upset about Enchi-bo's words, but Nichiren was calming down.

“Dear Enchi-bo. I have respected you since I was a boy. However, I just understood clearly. On your deathbed, you will fall into the bottom of the hell of incessant suffering more deeply than the scholar of Nembutsu!”

Nichiren upraised the scroll of sutras of the Lotus Sutra.

“You must quickly reform your dwarfish mind of faith and embrace the sole Law of Buddha.”

Enchi-bo leaves without being able to answer. Several believers followed him.

Nichiren sat on the balcony and began to chant to the moon of Heaven.

“Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,…”

Joken-bo and Gijo-bo sit down behind him and chant in chorus. And dozens of believers of the Seichoji Temple chanted it hard.

The day of reckoning has come.

The people of the Seichoji Temple watched the entrance of the court anxiously.

The temple side and Kagenobu side were divided to the left and right at the hall of the trial and sat down.

Everybody is tense. They are talking in whispers.

On the other hand, there was Kagenobu with a satisfactory face.

The judge appeared in front before long. The room fell silent, and the court clerk declared it.

"Then we state judgment about the possession of the territory of the Seichoji Temple from now."

The judge said it solemnly.

“We accept the lawsuit of the Seichoji Temple side about this lawsuit. We will command the land steward to return the land which he occupied hurriedly.”

The people of the temple grasped their hands at this moment. There is also the person putting his hands together.

In contrast was the blank-faced Kagebobu. He said, as if he had lost his mind.

"Is it not some kind of mistake? Do you not receive the claim of the land steward?"

The judge was tense and answered.

"This is the judgment of all members of our court."

Kagenobu stood up.

"What a piece of folly!"

Kagenobu pointed his finger at the judge.

"Are you truly samurai? Why do you help the temple which seems to be being destroyed? What kind of intentions do you have?"

The judge answers calmly.

"Lord Tojo, I may understand your mind. However, here is the place of trial. It becomes territory confiscation, if you tell curses here. You must know your situation well."
Kagenobu does not calm down.

“Nonsense! Is it good that such a thing is permitted? You have disgraced me. Now that things have come to this, I will appeal to the governor or the lord Kamakura!”

The judge is not shaken. He serves the Shogunate, but is the executant of fair law at the same time. Turning to the ceiling, he told it.

"Formulary of Adjudications says. 1. We are not smart, and the thought is light, but we think straight and do not think to twist it.”

The court clerk swore with the same posture.

"1. We do not work for the profit of a particular person."

The trial government official did the same.

"1. We say that the right thing is right. We say that it is wrong if there is no proof for something.”

The judge says more.

"1. We understand it that the person who remains silent about the right and wrong while knowing the detailed progress to hide a malicious conspiracy of a certain person will be criticized by later people. What do you think, Lord Kagenobu?”

It was the right argument.

Kagenobu stood still in the hall. Then he left with a resentful look on his face. His retainers follow and leave.

The judge declared it last.

"We finished the trial."

The Seichoji side raised a voice at the same time with the last declaration and gave vent to delight.

People held each other.



A voice of joy sounded outside the high court of justice.

Women on the Seichoji Temple side burst into tears under the sun, and they shouted, "Thanks to holy priest Nichiren!"

Nichiren carried baggage on his back and he wore a hat and got ready for the trip in this lively scene.

Joken-bo worried.

"Are you going to go?"

Nichiren nods. He intends to rely on Jonin Toki of Shimousa from now on. There are many samurais of the relationship of Toki in Shimousa. Nichiren intended to make a line of the propagation together with Toki. Since he won a trial, he must come back to his mission.

Gijo-bo tightly grasped Nichiren's hand.

“You rescued the Seichoji Temple. Mrs. O'ama will be surely pleased very much, too. Have a nice trip.”

The farmer of the Seichoji believer held out a basket containing the rice ball.

"Please have this. We have not got the crops because of famine this year. It will become difficult to eat rice.”

“A thousand thanks!”

Nichiren lowered his head to the farmer deeply.

Kagenobu of the land steward passed on a horse slowly there and stopped in front of Nichiren.

Kagenobu became a red-hot angry face, and a muscle appeared in his brow.

Everybody fell silent.

Kagenobu looks down from a horse.

"Nichiren, I will overlook you for now. But you were an enemy of Nembutsu and were selected as the enemy of the land steward. I will not keep you alive when you come back to Awa. Be prepared.”

Kagenobu has a face twitching and leaves. His retainers glared at Nichiren too in looking askance and they left.

The trial was settled once in this way, but Seichoji temple and the fight of the land steward continued after this. Nichiren vowed that he would abandon the Lotus Sutra if defeated in the trial, really, and made an effort continually.

“I will explain why. The villainous Tojo Saemon Kagenobu once hunted the deer and other animals kept by Seichoji, and tried to force the priests in the various lodging temples to become Nembutsu believers.

At that time, I pitted myself against Tojo and supported the lord of the manor. I made a written oath, 'If the two temples of Seicho and Futama should come into Tojo's possession, I will discard the Lotus Sutra!' . Then I tied it to the hand of the Gohonzon, and prayed continuously. Within a year, both temples had been freed from Tojo's grasp”. Letter to the Populace of Seichoji’

When Nichiren entered the Seichoji Temple, it is said he prayed to the Kokuzo Bodhisattva. "Please make me the wisest person in Japan."

“I have received great wisdom from a live Kokuzo Bodhisattva. The Bodhisattva felt pity for me, perhaps. He gave the great jewel as brilliant as Venus, into my right-hand sleeve. Thereafter, while I learned the Buddhist scriptures, I could grasp the superiority and inferiority of eight denominations and all Buddhist sutras”. 'Letter to the Populace of Seichoji’

Also, he wrote, "Nichiren tied it to the hand of the Gohonzon and prayed continuously". Nichiren showed horrible passion for repaying a gratitude to the hometown Seichoji Temple where he had a chance to become a priest.

On the other hand, Kagenobu, a landowner, tried to win the trial even with Hojo's influential people on his side, but he was unable to do so. Therefore, Kagenobu abominates Nichiren from the bottom of his heart and will cause the persecution of Komatsubara of the Bun'ei first year (1264) at last. Thus, Nichiren could no longer step on the soil of his homeland without determination.

Continued to (2)

Life of Nichiren. Vol. 1. Contents

by johsei1129 | 2020-07-12 11:34 | LIFE OF NICHIREN | Trackback | Comments(0)
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