1. In 1947, Shorinji Kempo was founded by Doshin So(hereafter, Kaiso),the first shike of Shorinji Kempo, in the town of Tadotsu, Kagawa Prefecture
2. When Japan lost world war II, rules of society, the economy, and peole’s hearts as well were in turmoil, and Kaiso awakened to the knowledge that “all things depend on the quality of the people who stand in positions of influence.”
3. Kaiso considered that, to build a peaceful world, “There is no other way than to cultivate, in as many people as possible, deeply rooted compassion, great courage, and a storng sense of justice.”
4. Aiming to rebuild people in body and spirit, and to transform society though peaceful means, Kaiso founded Shorinji Kempo with the goals of “developing individuals through Shorinji Kempo” and “contracting an ideal world.”
5. Ideal image of humanity toward which kenshi aspire
・People who can live with faith in their own potential
・People who can live as the authors of their own lives
・People who can act with consideration for the happiness of others
・People who can act with compassion, courage, and a sense of justice
・People who can live so as bond with and support each other solidarity and cooperation
◆“The person, the person, the person ― everything depends on the quality of the person.”(“Hito, hito, hito, subete wa hito no shitsu ni aru.”)― The motivation and resolve for the founding of Shorinji Kempo
In 1945, under war conditions in the northeastern region of China, Kaiso witnessed the harsh realities of international politics where the interests of states and races took precedence, and only might seemed to make right.
Amidst this situation, Kaiso discovered that events are greatly affected by the character and way of thinking of people in positions of influence. He expressed this realization as, “The person, the person, the person― everything depends on the quality of the person.” He noticed that, “if society is run by people, then true peace can only come from fostering compassion, courage, and a sense of purpose, to explain this path to them, and to draw out their sense of justice, to nourish their confidence, courage, and vigor, and so to educate people who would contribute to the revival of our native land.”
Coming through such a vast range of experiences, Kaiso was able to see levels affected by status and formal education, and he grasped the core qualities of human beings. So Kaiso discovered that events are greatly affected by the character and way of thinking of people in positions of influence. He expressed this realization as, “The person, the person, the person ― everything depends on the quality of the person.” He realized keenly that, “If society is run by people, then true peace can only come from fostering compassion, courage, and a sense of justice in as many people as possible.”
Furthermore he decided that if he were lucky enough to make it back to Japan, he would open a private school for young people of resolve, teach them morals and nurture individuals who would contribute to rebuilding a peaceful and prosperous native land.
Note: Kaiso’s experience in Manchuria under military rule
When the Soviet Army invaded Manchuria on August 9, 1945, near Japan’s defeat, the Japanese Army abandoned the many Japanese people living there and rushed out in retreat. In Suiyang where Kaiso lived, the main forces had already moved out, and even the remaining forces had disappeared completely by the time the civilian residents heard of the Soviet declaration of war.
Abandoned by their army, the people tried to escape to safety on their own, but what awaited them was violence and plunder by the Soviet forces.
Even after military government brought order, the tragedies continued to increase. It was a tableau of human desperation, of people driven to extremes, clinging to life, not caring what happened to others so long as they themselves could survive.
In times of peace, people can hide their true natures in many ways to present a pleasant veneer. Once order collapses, however, our true natures bare themselves for all to see. Even though the numbers were few, some people, despite the dire situation, forsook their own gains and made a martyr of themselves for others.
Note: The Soviet Union (The forerunner of the Russian Federation)
The official name was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The Soviet Union was the first socialist nation founded on December 30, 1922 by the Russian Revolution (on November 7, 1917).
During World War II, Stalin was in power despotically. In 1941, the Soviet Union signed the Non-Aggression Pact establishing neutrality with Japan but on August 8, 1945, unilaterally broke the pact and declared war against Japan.
On December 25, 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed under the democratization of Eastern European countries and the collapse of a The Cold War.
◆Founding a way of developing individuals primarily through martial techniques
Upon his return, Kaiso saw a Japan in the disorder of defeat.
The values of morality and humanity had been discarded, and fellow Japanese feuded as injustice and violence paraded brazenly in public view. Within this society, the vast majority of both youths and adults held no hope for the future and simply reacted day by day, like a confused herd. In the face of this, Kaiso ordered and organized the techniques that he had learned while in China, applying his own creative touch to make a new technical system that individuals would find enjoyable to learn. He turned his home into a practice hall, and he taught the techniques, along with lectures on his view of life and of the world. Thus started the development of individuals through martial techniques. Aiming to improve people physically and mentally and to transform society through peaceful means, Kaiso founded Shorinji Kempo with the goals of developing individuals, and of realizing a peaceful society that would be both materially and spiritually rich.
◆Ideal human qualities sought in Shorinji Kempo
As discussed above, Shorinji Kempo was not created simply to make physically strong people or technically skilled fighters. Rather, Shorinji Kempo training cultivates true leaders with sound thinking and a rich sense of justice; who have confidence that humanity harbors seeds of potential to grow; who have healthy bodies, indomitable courage and a well rounded character; who have the kind of courage and passion needed to act enthusiastically so that individually lead happy lives and together realize a peaceful and prosperous society.
Shorinji Kempo’s kenshi must aim to become people who can live their belief in their own potential, people who live as the authors of their own lives, people who can act with consideration for the happiness of others, who can act with compassion, courage, and a sense of justice, and people who can live by bonding with and supporting each ather.