Biography Seisetsu, Seki 精拙 関 (1877 - 1945)
Seki Seisetsu was born on 18 January 1877 in Hyogo Prefecture. As a baby, he was given to Seki Soshun, a Zen priest of Tenrin-ji (temple) in a nearby village. Soshun raised him, and his entire life, until his death, a few months after the end of WWII, Seisetsu remained a Zen monk. When he was 30 he received his inka shômei (= formal acknowledgement of a student's completion of his Zen training). In 1922, when he was 45, he became head (Kanchô) of Tenryû-ji; next to his new duties he also found time for calligraphy and painting.
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He was very versatile, both as a calligrapher and as a painter. Especially his sense of humour was remarkable. On the other hand, Seisetsu became notorious because of his obvious sympathies with the Japanese cause in WWII, and because he wanted to integrate bushidô ("the way of the warrior") and Zen. He authored a book on this subject.
Just before the fall of Nanking, Seisetsu went on national radio to say: “Showing the utmost loyalty to the emperor is identical with engaging in the religious practice of Mahayana Buddhism. This is because Mahayana Buddhism is identical with the law of the sovereign.” He then called for the “extermination of the red devils” (communists) both in Japan and in China. Seisetsu even carried his message to the battlefield, visiting the Chinese front in 1938.
Seeing the devastations as a result of the war he preached peace the last few months of his life.
See also paintingss from Nantenbô, Nakahara 南天榛 中原 (1839-1925)
See also paintings from Deiryû 泥龍 (1895-1954)