Shimotsuma Rairen

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In this Sanese name, the family name is Shimotsuma.

Shimotsuma Rairen
1st Monshu of Nishi-Tateyama Honganji
In office
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Abbot: Shimotsuma Chuzen
17th Monshu of Terazawa Honganji
In office
Preceded by Rennyo
Succeeded by Position Abolished
Personal details
Born (1570-01-12)January 12, 1570
Heiji-kyō, Okaiken
Died August 14, 1650(1650-08-14) (aged 80)
Spouse(s) Narita Kai
  • Shimotsuma Chuzen
  • Shimotsuma Raizen
  • Shimotsuma Honen
  • Inuyama Sōen

Shimotsuma Rairen (下間頼廉 Shimotsuma Rairen?) (1570-1650), is the founder of the city of Toyozawa and the 17th head of the Terazawa Honganji, also known as the Ikkō Ikki, a militant branch of Jōdo Shinshū; he remained as an abbot of the militant branch until the end of the warring states period and into the early Honda period, when it was officially abolished by the Shirakawa Emperor in 1621. When the emperor reorganized the sect and separated it into two branches, he served as the first head of the Nishi-Tateyama Honganji until his death in 1650. While he was the monshu of the Nishi-Tateyama Honganji, he became the spiritual advisor to Honda Shigetomo when he became shogun; he presided over his and Ii Naotaka's remains after both died in the Battle of Ichijoudani.

Rairen is also noted for a number of legacies in Okaiken, including the establishment of the voluntary and involuntary rice collection system known as the danka that was the basis of the Okami Stock Exchange and the Nikkan Rice Futures Index. His clan also financed the construction, restoration and rebuilding of many Jōdo-shinshu temples standing today in Okaiken, which made it the second most dominant Buddhist Sect in the country.

Early Life[edit]

Rairen was born from a poor samurai family serving the Izumo clan in January 12, 1570. His father died from a famine in 1573 and his brother, Shimotsuma Kuzen succeeded his father despite his young age. 2 years later, in 1575; with the recommendation of the Izumo clan, Rairen and his brother Shinren was sent to the main Jōdo Shinshū temple in Ikoyama (now Toyozawa) to train under Rennyo, the 16th head of the Terazawa Honganji. Since Rennyo chose to not father any sons, he assigned Rairen to be his successor. As a result of his adoption to Rennyo, Rairen did not know much of his biological mother, and he attempted to find his mother with no avail.

Military Career[edit]

Under Rennyo, Rairen was trained in military tactics and weaponry to protect the religion's holdings in Ikoyama. By 1586, Ogasawara Terumasa had declared war on the temple, because of its huge holdings in Ikoyama as well as its control of the strategic Toyozawa Bay; these were considered to be a huge threat to Terumasa. On June 10, 1586, Terumasa invaded the territories controlled by the Ikoyama Honganji.

Rairen was tasked to build defenses in what is now the Namba Doribashi district of Toyozawa. It consisted of earthwork defenses with stockades to prevent a cavalry charge known to be used frequently by Terumasa.

Solidification of Shin Buddhism[edit]

Rairen was installed Rennyo after the latter's death in 1610. By this time, the Honda clan had consolidated