Photos of Kinkaizan Daion Kuji

Lyn Kelch Sensei’s photos of Kinkaizan Daion Kuji

Sometime between 1995 and 1997, when I was at Bushidokai in Groton, CT, Sensei Lynn Kelch visited Kinkaizan Daion Kuji, the temple on Kyushu, Japan where Mitose says Kosho Shorei Ryu was created. While he was there, he took many photographs of the temple, and also Kumamoto castle. I have picked out a few of the 86 photos that he took while there and have scanned them and put them here for you to see. The captions are based on my memory of his descriptions of what the pictures are about, from 1995 -1997, so please forgive any inaccuracies from my poor memory.

By the way, if you are not familiar with the history of Kinkaizan Daion Kuji, here is some basic information I got from Dave LoPriore Shihan. Sometime between 781 and 806, a famous monk from Kyushu healed Emperor Kanmu Tenno. In gratitude, the emperor gave him the title Shozen Daishi, money and the land to build Kinkaizan Daion Kuji. The original temple was constructed between 799 and 804 AD. At around 1235 AD, a warrior monk meditated under a tree and received an inspiration which caused him to develop Kosho Shorei Ryu. In 1588, Yukinaga Konishi, the daimyo of Kumamoto, attacked the temple destroying 75 priest’s houses and 49 branch temples. He sent 5,000 Samaurai bushi to kill only 400 defending monks. Later, Kato Kiyamasa killed Yukinaga Konishi, and his son, Kato Tadahiro, rebuilt the temple in 1620. We are told that the attack on the main temple was only partially successful, as the main buildings and many artifacts were saved from destruction. Also it is said that the old pine tree that the art was conceived under was saved.