View Full Version : Shorinji Kempo in a Chinese Shaolin Book

M.C. Busman
16th March 2001, 19:21
I have an older book on my shelf called <u>Shaolin Kung Fu</u> by Ying Zi and Weng Yi, Kingsway Int'l Pubications, 1981. Far from being about fighting, it is about the Shaolin temple in China and its history and current practice. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is that it does not feature training <u>or</u> any of the flashy techniques that the current "monks" of the present Chinese Shaolin practice. The only two expert demonstrators are two very old chinese men who are dressed in commoners clothes, not robes. The book was published in 1981, before China discovered how profitable tourism could be and began deching their "monks" in theatrical garb and training them in acrobatics.

OK, I'll get to it, there is a chapter specifically on "Japan's Shaolin Kung Fu". It says that founder Shin Nakamichi (it uses his given name here rather than the later Doshin So) taught in a middle school in Shen-yang, and while there met & was befrended by a formewr Shaolin monk, Wen-tai, who taught a system known as the White Lotus, etc. At the end, the chapter states:

<b>"[Shin Nakamichi's] daughter has carried on her father's cause and is now the president of the religious corporate body and chief of the Japan Shaolin Monastary. She has decided to select a husband from among the pugalists, and after a son is born, she will again pass on the cause to a third generation." </b>

As someone who is not a member of the Shorinji Kempo body, can someone explain what the Headmistress of Shorinji Kempo is up to, and if this plan rings true today? Does she physically train, and what is the extent of her training? Has she found a significant other, simply decided to pass on the headship at a later date, or are these things unknown?

I am also curious about the state of communications between the Chinese Shaolin and the Japanese Shorinji...Wasn't there a dispute some years back which came off requiring So's association to preface everything with <b>Japanese (Nihon)</b> Shaolin (Shorinji)?

Thank you...

John McCulloch
16th March 2001, 22:20
Thank you for the information. I haven't seen that book you mentioned but have seen other "pre-hype" Shaolin Temple publications that mentioned Shorinji Kempo.

Doshin So's daughter is indeed the current President (Kancho) of Shorinji Kempo. She was elected to her post after her father died in 1980. She is also married to a Shorinji Kempo teacher and has at least one son. I have never heard of those "third generation" succession plans before though.

Kancho did train when she was younger but due to a back problem does not practice (technically) Shorinji Kempo anymore.

As for relations between Shorinji Kempo and the Shaolin Temple (or more broadly, China) - they are extremely good. There have been many exchange visits between the two parties and Chinese officials were in attendance and offered a toast at the Shorinji Kempo 50th Anniversary celebrations in Japan in 1997. A few years ago the Shaolin Temple sent a giant stone carving with the character "En" (connection) to Shorinji Kempo Hombu (where it proudly stands in the grounds).

I hope this helps.

With best wishes,

M.C. Busman
17th March 2001, 19:47
Thank you, John. I was curious.

About the dispute, I thought it was a copyright or trademark dispute. But in hindsight, I there are at least 4 different schools using "Shorinji" in their official names, for all my feeble mind can recall, it could have been one of those.

Happy Trails,