Shinjo's mother was a follower of a faith derived from Japan's native religion, Shinto, while his father was a Zen Buddhist. But for the young Shinjo, it was science, art and mechanics that held most appeal.


Brief Chronology

1906 Born in Yamanashi as Fumiaki Ito 1912 In primary school, exhibits scientific and drawing skills 1918 Learns traditional divination from father 1921 Works in Hokkaido. Father dies 1922 Returns to Yamanashi 1923 Moves to Tokyo, witnesses Great Kanto Earthquake 1925 Takes up photography. Builds radios 1927 Conscripted, takes aerial photographs 1928 Completes his two-year enlistment 1929 Aircraft engineering, divination study 1932 Marries wife, Tomoji 1934 Wins photographic competition 1935 Encounters medieval Achalanatha image 1936 Enters Daigoji monastery, founds Buddhist order 1937 First artistic work: an Achalanatha relief 1938 Receives Buddhist name Shinjo (True Vehicle) 1946 Independence from Shingon school 1951 Order renamed Shinnyo-en, Tomoji becomes head 1956 Resolves to sculpt Parinirvana image 1957 Completes sculpture in three months 1958 Returns to intense artistic activity 1964 First collection of sonouta short teaching verses published 1966 Conference on the World Fellowship of Buddhists 1967 Tours Europe for religious goodwill. 1976 Officiates at Daigoji's 1100th anniversary 1986 Shinjo's 80th birthday; Shinnyo-en's 50th anniversary 1989 Dies aged 83

Full Chronology