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Hengaku Eijusaiki (Framed "Eijusai" Scripture)

Calligraphed by Chōnen

Ink on paper, one side

3rd year of the Ansei era (1856)



 Based on the signature seal, the author of this piece is believed to be Chōnen (超然) (1793-1868). Chōnen was a Jōdo Shinshū (True Pure Land Buddhism) priest of the late Edo period (1603−1868). His father was Daitō (大涛) (unknown date of birth – 1826), a monk of Enshōji Temple in Ōmi Province (which today comprises Shiga Prefecture). Chōnen's religious name was Guen (虞淵) and his posthumous name is Kōshōin (高尚院).

 He describes Hibiya Kenjirō's (日比谷健次郎) (1836−1886) training in swordsmanship at the Chiba Dōjō and his diligence in his daily studies. Therefore, he also wrote that Kenjirō was given the title "Eijusai" (栄寿斎) to express his wish for "prosperity" (栄) and "longevity" (寿), and the nickname "Shikin" (子勤).

 It also describes Kenjirō's desire to study poetry and painting. This is a basic document that tells the story of Kenjirō's personality and other aspects of his character. Originally, there was another calligraphy, "Eiju", using the same characters, by a monk named Shakudōhon (釈道本) (unknown date of birth and death). Although it is now lost, the explanation of its origin is written on this panel.

 Shakudōhon, whose Buddhic name was Kenju (憲寿) and whose nickname was Kokei (虎渓), was a monk of Chishakuin Temple and the chief priest of Ishimizu Hachimangu Bettō Daigoin Temple in Asakusa, Edo (now the bettō of the Kuramae Shrine, now closed).


* The word sumiseki (墨蹟) (ink marks) is synonymous with “calligraphy” and “handwriting” and refers to any writing done in ink on paper or cloth.

* The word (号) would be translated as “pen-name” and is used by writers who want to publish works, like paintings, calligraphy and haiku, under a different name.

* The word azana (字) refers to an individual’s pseudonym.

* The word imina (諱) refers to an individual’s real name, although it wasn’t used while they were alive.

* The word okurina (諡) refers to an individual’s posthumous name.


Japanese names follow the Japanese order: surname-name.

Japanese names and words are transcribed using the Hepburn romanization method.




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