Saishō Temple


Kawachi Province

Lifespan:  Meiō 3 (1494) to 3/11 of Eishō 15 (1518)

Rank:  Abbot of the Saishō Temple

Title:  Chief of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards

Father:  Rennyo

Mother:  Rennō-ni

Siblings:  Jikken

Wife:  Myōyū (daughter of Hatakeyama Masahide)

Children:  Jisshin, daughter (wife of Jitsujū)

Jitsujun served as a monk of the Jōdō Shinshū, or True Pure Land School, of Buddhism during the Sengoku period.  Jitsujun served as the abbot of the Saishō Temple.

In 1494, Jitsujun was born as the son of Rennyo (the eighth high priest of the Hongan Temple) and Rennō-ni (his fifth wife).  Rennō-ni was the daughter of Hatakeyama Masahide.  Jitsujun wed the daughter of Renjun named Myōyū.  His children included a son, Jisshin, and a daughter who was the wife of Jitsujū.  His real name was Kensei and he held the title of Chief of the Right Division of Outer Palace Guards.

During his youth, he was raised by Rennō-ni at a monk’s quarters in Ōsaka.  in 1505, he entered the priesthood and was appointed to serve as the abbot of the Saishō Temple in the Shibukawa District of Kawachi Province.  Founded by Rennyo in the Meiō era (1492 to 1501) with the support of the local Yasui clan, this temple served as the main hall for the Ikkō sect in Kawachi.

However, in 1506, at the Kawachi Disturbance, after Jitsunyo (the ninth high priest and fifth son of Rennyo) issued mobilization orders in a bid to support Hosokawa Masamoto, the monks from Kawachi and Settsu provinces objected, and Jitsujun was swept-up in an incident to back his older brother, Jikken (the ninth son of Rennyo) who was in Ōsaka.   Jitsujun, along with Jikken, Jitsujū and others, were apprehended by Shimotsuma Raikei upon orders of Jitsunyo.

After this event, Jitsujun was excommunicated owing to his complicity with Jikken and Rennō-ni.  Living an itinerant lifestyle for three years, he resided in Kyōto.  In 1509, through the offices of the head priest of the Donkei Temple, he was pardoned and allowed to return to temple life, whereupon he resumed his position as the abbot of the Saishō Temple.  Jitsujun died on 3/11 of Eishō 15 (1518) at the age of twenty-five.

After his death, Jitsujun’s eldest son, Jisshin, succeeded him as the abbot of the Saishō Temple.  In 1529, however, Jisshin died early at the age of thirteen so Jitsujun’s bloodline came to an end.  As a result, Jitsujun’s father-in-law, Renjun (the sixth son of Rennyo and a different mother), from the Kenshō Temple in Ōmi became the next abbot, and renamed Saishō Temple to the Kenshō Temple (the same name as his former location).

Around 1541, Renjun had two rows of fences and earthen mounds constructed around the temple grounds.   This offered protection for battles and also served as a means to build a spirit of solidarity among the monks.  He then built a village within the grounds connected with a road grid.  The temple wielded exclusive authority over these grounds which was entrusted to the Yasui clan.  Moreover, Renjun gained prominence within the Hongan Temple, exercising governance over other temple lands in Kawachi including Shōdai in the Katano District and Daigatsuka in the Ishikawa District.