(One of the Most Respectable People in Japanese History)
There are a few historic figures who have been widely recognized as “(leaves) nothing to be desired” in Japan. Obviously Shotoku Taishi is among them. All that Japanese people learn about him at school is simply worship him. There is no room to criticize this figure. This is proven by the fact that Shotoku Taishi has been used as the figure on Japanese currency notes called Nihon Ginko Ken (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banknotes_of_the_Japanese_yen) most often.
(100 Yen Note Released in July 5, 1956)
(1,000 Yen Note Released in January 4, 1965)
(5,000 Yen Note Released in January 4, 1986)
(10,000 Yen Note Released in January 4, 1986)
Since he became very popular with this 10,000 Yen Notes, the Japanese people tend to call this note “Shotoku Taishi” as Americans call “100 dollar bills” Benjamin (Franklin). When you want to make a lot of money, you say, “I want to make tons of Shotoku Taishi!!” Incidentally, the value of 10,000 Yen and US 100 dollar bill is almost the same. Interesting, isn’t it?
(Portrait Used Most Often)
Shotoku Taishi was born with a silver spoon. But the difference from other people of the same kind is that Taishi was gifted and talented in many many ways. There are innumerable numbers of episode to show you what a super human he was in Japanese history. Here are some of them:
- Annunciation: His mother conceived him when the spirit of Western Kuan-Yin (the Goddess of Mercy) entered her body. This episode was created to make people believe that Taishi was special like Jesus Christ.
- Super Human Ears with Brilliant Judgement: When 10 commoners came to him in order to make petitions, Taishi understood exactly what each one of them said and gave right advice to each individual. Depending on which historical material you may read, the number of the people who talked to Taishi at the same time is different, but the point is that Taishi had the political talent of solving a lot of problems very efficiently.
- Reincarnation: Since he was devoted to Buddhism, it is said that Taishi was a reincarnation of the famous Buddhist monk named Nanyue Huisi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanyue_Huisi). His entire life and Buddhism were inseparable.
- Saint or Sorcerer (!?): Taishi wanted all the wealthy all over Japan to donate thoroughbreds they owned to the Emperor. When those excellent horses were presented to Taishi, he selected only one with 4 while hooves from among several hundreds as a Sacred Horse. One of his men was appointed as a horse breeder by Taishi. After a while, Taishi flew away on the Sacred Horse as soon as he mounted on it!
This list continues for a long time, so I will stop here. However, Shotoku Taishi is, as you might have already noticed, an untouchable Japanese hero without doubt!
You would have lots of fun
Visiting Shotoku Taishi Related Temples
When you come and travel all around Japan!
You can do that next spring
if you start studying Japanese NOW!
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