Inscription on the UNESCO's Memory
of the World Register

The documents concerning Chisho Daishi Enchin (Chisho Daishi Enchin Kankei Monjo Tenseki)
— History of the Cultural Exchange Between Japan and China —

[National Treasure] Dajokankyukugencho
(First volume) (Official documents issued by the Grand Council of State)
[National Treasure] The seated statue of Chisho Daishi
(Chuson Daishi)

The documents concerning Chisho Daishi Enchin (Chisho Daishi Enchin Kankei Monjo Tenseki) have been inscribed on the UNESCO's Memory of the World Register

The group of historical documents which was inscribed on the UNESCO's Memory of the World Register consists of 56 national treasures owned by Miidera Temple and the Tokyo National Museum. These documents cover a wide range of fields and were a legacy of Chisho Daishi Enchin (814–891) who exerted himself in the prosperity of Japanese Buddhism, in particular, the Tendai studies and esoteric Buddhism.

The documents regarding the time when Enchin studied in the Tang Dynasty in the 9th century vividly depict the cultural exchange between Japan and Tang China at that time. Among them there are original passports called kasho issued by the government office of the Tang Dynasty for Enchin, and they are known as not only valuable documents presenting the legal system of the Tang Dynasty but also the one and only example of the legacy in the world which has been preserved in good condition. They also consist of a variety of documents dating back to the 9th century including the official documents concerning the establishment of the national system in Japan, documents regarding the worship of the founder of the sect, Enchin, and handwritten documents by Enchin.

Miidera Temple will widely disseminate the achievement made by Chisho Daishi Enchin, the restorer of this temple, as well as the global value of these documents.

A part of the documents concerning Chisho Daishi Enchin (Chisho Daishi Enchin Kankei Monjo Tenseki) is currently available for viewing at the Miidera Temple Cultural Property Storehouse.

Chisho Daishi EnchinA high-ranking priest in the Heian Period [794–1185] who left his mark on the history of Buddhism in Japan

Chisho Daishi Enchin (814–891) is referred to as one of the Tendai Trio along with Dengyo Daishi Saicho who founded the Tendai sect in Mr. Hiei and Jikaku Daishi Ennin, and is worshiped as the founder of Tendaijimon Sect (the Jimon branch of the Tendai sect) whose head temple is Miidera Temple.

Enchin was born in the now Zentsuji City, Kagawa Prefecture in 814. At the age of 15, he went to Mt. Hiei and became a disciple of Gishin, the first Tendai head priest. Enchin had rich and delicate sensitivity, and at the age of 25, he felt the presence of the Kifudo (the Yellow Fudo Myo-o, or Acalanatha in Sanskrit) that is one of the three great Fudo Myo-o (Acalas) in Japan, and the statue and painting of which are ordinarily withheld from public view.

Enchin went to Tang China in 853. He made a pilgrimage to Mt. Tiantai and Chang’an, the capital, and worked hard on the Tendai studies and esoteric Buddhism for five years. He came back to Japan in 859, and restored Miidera Temple as a Tendai sect branch temple. He stored the scriptures and other items brought back from Tang China in the Toin Hall of Miidera Temple. Among them, there were a National Treasure, the Gobu-shinkan, (an old Esoteric Buddhist Scroll Drawing) as well as other valuable documents and iconographies. The esoteric Buddhism which Enchin brought back from Thang China to pass on had great influence.

In 868, he was appointed as the fifth Tendai head priest and dedicated himself to the prosperity of Buddhism for an impressive 23 years until his death in 891 at the age of 78. In 927, his great life was praised and the title “Chisho Daishi” was awarded by Emperor Daigo.

[National Treasure]
The Kondo (the main hall) of Miidera Temple
The Toin Hall of Miidera Temple

Chisho Daishi's Trace of the Pilgrimage to China
in Search of the Law