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The Fuji Lineage/Schools

The Fuji Lineage of Taisekiji claims a heritage unbroken from Nichiren Daishonin himself, though in fact there have been some breaks and there has been a lot of history. For the time line of that heritage see: fujilineagei.html. However, more properly, the "Fuji School" represents not just Nichiren Shoshu Taisekiji but the lineage founded by Nikko and his disciples. It thus includes more than one school of thought on what that legacy was.

For that reason, before reading about the Fuji School it is a good idea to read the following articles:
Nichiren
Six Priests
Nikko Shonin
Nichimoku

Background:

When Nichiren died at Ikegami Springs, Nichiren died, he left an official legacy that his disciples were to take turn tending his grave. These disciples consisted of "direct disciples" who were appointed "elder priests" and direct disciples who were also disciples of one or more of the elder priests. The elder disciples were unwilling or unable to participate in the rotation of priests tending Mt. Minobu's temple, except for Nikko Shonin and his direct disciples. Conflict thus arose within the ranks of Nichiren monks centered on the "elder priests." It is this early conflict and Nikko's departure from Minobu that really begins the "Fuji School." Prior to that there was only the "Nichiren School." The Fuji School represents those first generation and second generation monks who sided with Nikko in this dispute and then subsequently maintained that a genuine legacy had been bequeathed on their dispute by Nichiren himself.

For the Fuji School, it is unquestioningly true that Nikko Shonin was the first abbot of Minobu and acted in that capacity during the early years after Nichiren's death. When Lord Hakiri proposed Niko as chief abbot Nikko's position untenable and he left. According to legend, he took some or all of Nichiren's ashes with him, and all the things that he felt were his property. According to oral legends he also took with him a wooden Gohonzon that was to be the principle object of worship of Taisekiji, known as the Dai-Gohonzon. He also took with him a number of his disciples. Niko, Nissho,Nichiro and Nikko went from being close partners early in their careers to being bitter rivals. And soon after that Toki Jonin, and the other senior disciples were all to add their names to the fray. Each of these left a legacy with disciples and those various disciples were to continue that rivalry.

Geography

Nikko's role as a direct disciple and following in the Fuji area dated back to Nikko's early days as a monk at Shijuku-in temple in Suruga Province, near Matsuno. After trouble in Shijuku-in, and after failing to win a debate and thus "win" the temple directly from its master, Nikko moved to Ryusen-ji near Atsuhara. Here he also failed to draw the chief priest into a debate and suffered the persecution known as the "Atsuhara persecution" as a result. Both these places are near Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is on the Southwest edge of the "kanto" region, and is thus strategically located near both traditional capitols of Japan. Kamakura and Tokyo in the Kanto, and the great city of Kyoto to the southwest. Doubtless Nikko and the other priests from this region of "Suruga" felt that in some ways Mt. Fuji represented an even more ideal base of operations than the even more remote Mt. Minobu Temple. Both are not that far. Mt. Minobu is directly on the other side of Mt. Shichimen which is located North and East of Mt. Fuji. Kamakura was the center of power during Nichiren's day, but the center of power rapidly shifted back to Kyoto around the same time that the "Fuji School" began. This geography influenced the disputes and which ideas and doctrines were embraced by whom.

On the other hand. Kamakura, as a center of power, was a place where Nichiren's disciples still faced massive pressure and conflict with the Government. Disciples basing their operations in Kamakura would first face the prospect of certain destruction at the hands of the inimical Hojo's, and later the prospect of irrelevence as the center of power shifted back to Kyoto in 1332. When power shifted to Kanto again, it would shift to Edo (now Tokyo). All this geography played a role in the development of Nichirenism and the Fuji School.

Survivals of this legacy

The practice of "midnight Gongyo" is an example of a legacy reflecting the early dispute between these priests. The equirement that Taisekiji practices to this day of the chief priest performing late night prayers for world peace directly descends from this practice. According to the tales around his death Nichiren had asked to be carried back to minobu in a cooking pot and cremated there, but the disciples promised to cremate him and carry his remains back to Minobu and care for them there. . For more on these things visit these pages:

sixpriests.html, Nikko's page, and hara.html.
For more on Nichiren visit his page:
"http://www.geocities.com/chris_holte/Buddhism/nichiren.html"

Early Distinctions.

Nikko Shonin and his disciples would later claim that Nikko should have been Nichiren's true successor. There is some circumstantial evidence to back up these claims, while another legacy of this early dispute undermines those claims. The claim itself is based on de facto matters. Aside from the fact that Nikko was the only one who took seriously the admonition to tend Nichiren 's grave in rotation. Nikko watched as the other disciples acted with indiscipline and selfishly. All this is discussed on the six priests page and the pages about him.

But it was his disciples who would try to establish this legacy on written as opposed to purely oral grounds. It was his disciples would come up with Two transfer documents to prove that Nikko had been designated successor. Unfortunately, if those existed the other elder priests ignored them. Nissho and his cousin Nichiro were elder to Nikko, and Niko later proved a master at the coalition politics of flattery and undermining people that are such a distinctive feature of Japanese history. The authenticity of these documents has been in question since they were first produced and they were conveniently "stolen" sometime during the interminable wars that followed.

For more see
transfer.html
Succession
lineage

Nikko and his disciples

As you can see from reading about Nikko and Nichimoku. Nikko was the leader of the Fuji School, and he had many disciples. When he died he left six in charge of Kuon-ji, and six in charge of Taiseki-ji. As mentioned before there were a number of direct disciples of Nikko who had accompanied him to the Fuji Area. They scattered around the area. And they worked with unity as long as Nikko was still alive, just as the other disciples of Nichiren had worked with unity as long as Nichiren was alive. They worked with various lay disciples. And these "Jito" or local warlords were happy to donate small temples for them to live in as they worked. Nikko was famous for being incredibly strict.

For more on this read:
http://www.sokaspirit.org/downloadable_materials/fuji_school/03_UHFS_Chapter_3.pdf
Also for a discussion of the source of the "Untold Story" visit this page
"http://webspace.webring.com/people/uc/chris_holte/fujishugakuyoshu.htm"
For more see
sixpriests.html

Nanjo Tokimitsu

Nanjo Tokimitsu, like Lord Hakiri or Toki Jonin was such a local "warlord" or "Jito". He ruled a few small villages as "steward" of the "Ueno" clan. His father had practiced this Buddhism, and his mother continued practicing even after his father died. At the ripe and tender age of 18 he had been instrumental in dealing with the Atsuhara persecution mentioned above, and as a consequence received a number of Gosho and was well liked by Nichiren who called him "Sage Ueno." Thus he was a local leader in the Southern Fuji area around what is now Fujinomiya city. After the Daishonin died, he continued to practice closely aligned with Nikko Shonin. When Nikko fell out with the other priests, and was looking for a place to establish an independent temple he offered him a home next to his home. The year was 1289.

In 1290, the Lord of Ueno, Nanjo Tokimitsu, built the Taisekiji Temple at Oishigahara for Nikko Shonin who had left Mt. Minobu permanently. Nikko stayed a few years and then went to build another temple that he hoped would serve as a "seminary" for training young monks; Omosu Seminary. Both were cooperative efforts. They were not seperate "schools" at all.

Nanjo Tokimitsu, the Lord of Ueno, was the uncle of Nikko's disciple Nichimoku Therefore when Nikko left Taisekiji in 1291 to move to Omosu Seminary and teach acolytes he left Nichimoku in charge. Nichimoku was unquestionably Nikko's main direct disciple, but Nikko had other direct disciples as well.

The two Nitcho's

Nichiren monks wandered a lot. Even when they had a "base of operations" they seemed to spend a lot of time out in the field, teaching, recruiting, preaching. It should be no surprise that each of the modern day "lineages" of Nichiren's teachers should argue over possessing a legacy from this or that teacher. Those teachers didn't establish "lineages" based on physical location, but based on teachings and disciples. Nikko was assisted at Omosu Seminary by a number of other teachers, and he was assisted "down the road" by his other disciples based in other temples. To make things even more confusing modern scholars sometimes talk about these disciples and have trouble telling them one from another. Nikko was assisted in founding Omosu Seminary by Nitcho Shonin. All the while vociferously condemning the behavior of the "five elder priests" which included Nitcho Shonin. How could that be?

Well it turns out that there were two Nitcho Shonin's. Both were younger than Nikko Shonin. The younger of the two was Toki Jonin's natural child, a disciple of Nikko's, and followed him to Taiseki-ji. This monk seems to have lived from 1368 to 1317. He did not outlive his master. The chinese characters for his name mean "sun clear". It was he who helped Nikko teach at Omosu. It is also instructive that he stayed with Nikko and did not try to join his father Toki Jonin as he founded the Nakayama lineage. His loyalty was a tacit break with his father Lord Toki/Nitchijo and might have served as a rebuke to his half-brother Sun Bright Nitcho.

The other Nitcho was Iyo Ajari "Sun Bright" Nitcho, and was Toki Jonin's step son by the same mother. Both were related to the Matsuno Clan in the Fuji area and to Toki Jonin in distant Shimosa. This Nitcho is described on the page nitcho.html. This Nitcho was one of the five elder priests whom Nikko criticized in his writings. He was centered at Guboji Temple until either 1292 or 1302. And then travelled to join Nikko Shonin. According to oral accounts he was "disinherited" by Toki Jonin in 1284, who then took over his lineage and passed it on to his disciple Nichiko. Nitcho eventually ended up near Omosu where he was given Shoren-ji Temple to live in within walking distance of Omosu.

http://www.nichiren-shu.org/hokekyoji.html
http://www.nstmyosenji.org/goshos/2003/JunLect03.htm

Omosu Seminary

Sun Clear Nitcho Shonin helped Nikko shonin found Omosu Seminary from 1296-1298. The Temple would later be named "Kitayama Honmon-ji" after the town it was located in. He had the help of Ishikawa Shimbei Sanetada, the Matsuno Clan, and Nanjo Tokimitsu. Ishikawa Sanetada was married to the Lord Ueno's sister, Nitcho was related to the Matsuno's and all hoped that Omosu in the future would be free from the kind of family interference that had prompted Nikko to leave Minobu. Unfortunately the Ishikawa's were to interfere in the succession of Omosu, prompting a severe break and years of conflict. And the descendents of Nanjo Tokimitsu would interfere in the lineage of Taiseki-ji as well. To this day descendents of these groups still have influence on those schools.

Nichijun Sammi(1294-1356)

Nitcho had a disciple named Nichijun Sammi. He sent this disciple to Mt. Hiei to study Tendai Buddhism in depth. When Nitcho died, Nikko appointed him to teach Buddhism to advanced students at Omosu Seminary. This teacher seems to have been responsible for a number of Gosho. After Nikko's death Nichijun Sammi would go on to live another 23 years. His writings would later be cited as "proof" of the authenticity of various Gosho. It may well be that he authored them as well.

Nichimoku

Nikko had a lot of disciples, but he didn't want to repeat the chaos that had descended on the Sangha when his master died and left six senior disciples in charge and they had been unwilling to support one another. Consequently he bequeathed his lineage to Nichimoku Shonin before he died. He seems to have intended Nichimoku to be the unquestioned chief priest of the school. Unfortunately it was not to be that easy. When he died in 1332 he expected that Nichimoku would continue his legacy. But he also left behind two sets of six priests, in reflection of the Tendai roots of Nichiren Buddhism.

Nichimoku Goes to Kyoto

Nikko like his master Nichiren had appointed two sets of six senior disciples to take over for him after his passing. The first set consisted of: Nikke, Nichimoku, Nisshu, Nichizen, Nissen, and Nichijo. They were based at Taisekiji Temple, and Nikko transferred that temple to Nichimoku (1260-1333). The second set consisted of: Nichidai, Nitcho, Nichido, Nichimyo, Nichigo, and Nichijo (the same as the above mentioned Sammi Nichijun?). They were based at Omosu, later renamed, Kitayama Honmonji, and Nikko transferred that temple to Nichidai (1294-1394). He left six priests in charge of ordinations at Taisekiji and six in charge of ordinations at Omosu. The reason for six is that it takes 6 people to witness and perform Mahayana ordination rites. Unfortunately each of the six would take such a position as an excuse to battle to be in charge unless a clear single successor was designated. In that sense they followed the same pattern established by Nikko's own fellow priests.

Nikko had intended that there be an explicit succession. According to Fuji School teachings, before he died he transfered his "entire heritage" to Nichimoku. Nichimoku was intended to be in charge of both Omosu and Taisekiji once he had passed. Had Nichimoku lived longer it might have worked that way. As one of the few surviving direct disciples of Nichiren, it is obvious that Nichimoku was the unquestioned successor to Nikko.

Unfortunately for both Nichimoku and the Fuji School, when Nichimoku left for a final effort to remonstrate with the Emperor in 1333, following the example of his own master, and also literally following the inroads that the disciple of Nichiro named Nichizo had made in dealings with the emperor, by literally camping on the doorstep of the Mikado (Emperors household). But Nichimoku was old and instead of reaching Kyoto he died at Tarui Mino Province.

For more
http://www.sokaspirit.org/downloadable_materials/fuji_school/03_UHFS_Chapter_3.pdf

Chaos after Nichimoku's death

The primary result of Nichimoku's untimely death and confusion about succession was that there were 12 priests vying for two temples near Mt. Fuji and one founded in Kyoto. Two priests respectively claimed the Taisekiji lineage and the Omosu lineage. One went to Kyoto. That meant that shortly there were five lineages. Each with a leading priest and a shifting alliance of supporting priests, many with their own "branch" temples and perfectly willing to act independently. Thus the Fuji School started out united, and in short order was just as chaotic as its rivals in the now developing Nakayama, Hama, and other lineages. In the process of their shakubuku, debates and disputes each of the monks founded temples that were sometimes rivals and sometimes allies. The six, initially united temples soon became six rival Temples.

Yobo-ji

But the other flag of Nichimoku's journey to Kyoto, was that it coincided with a "change" in the epicenter of the impact of Nichiren Buddhism. The new temple in Kyoto would soon become the "main temple" in effect, and all the temples in the Kanto region would devolve into virtual family temples struggling to maintain some sense of Independence.

One of the disciples of Nichimoku who had travelled to Kyoto with him refrained from joining the succession disputes at Mt. Fuji and instead founded a temple that later was to be named "Yobo-ji." His primary argument was not with his colleagues back on Mt. Fuji, but with a disciple of Nichiro who had managed to convince the Emperor to sponsor him. The Fuji School could legitimately note that the Emperors success had been less than lasting. Go-Daigo succeeded in destroying the Hojo's. But in the process he failed to gain control over the warlord Ashikaga Takauji. And as a result, while Imperial power gravitated back to Kyoto, it centered not on the Imperium (Mikado) but on the Ashikaga Bakufu which located itself in the Muromachi district of that city. But the clarity of the differences between the Fuji School and the other schools by then had disapeared in the face of other controversies.

The "center" of the Fuji School passed to Yobo-ji for a time, and only moved back to Taisekiji much later due to the efforts of Nichikan Shonin and the passing of fortune away from the Ashikaga's to the Tokugawas in the 16th century. These later developments define what was to become Nichiren Shoshu. The other schools completely lost their distinctiveness, and while some of them are still independent others are part of the umbrella group known as Nichiren Shu.

Family Temple to Main Temple

In the time between Nichimoku's death and about The situation at Taisekiji wasn't resolved until the ninth high priest Nichiu took over. The relationship between Omosu, now named Kitayama Honmonji, never did become settled and the two schools remained rivals up until the present day.

The disciples of Nichimoku, and that he left in charge of Omosu/Kitayama Honmonji, all founded their own temples, and the priests all founded "lineages" which sometimes united and more often divided into bickering and mutual recrimination. Taiseki-ji was part of this pattern of propagation and schism but also tried to hold aloof from it. This pattern of independent thinking was both a plague and a good thing. Sometimes it simply reflected the application of the general rule of Buddhism to follow the dharma.

Further readings:
Mine:Fuji School, Nikko Shonin, Nichimoku Shonin

Nichiu Shonin(1409-1482)

For Taisekiji, struggling with the move of power from Kanto to Muromachi, a lineage struggle prevented any kind of outward focus for most of the remainder of the century. It wasn't until the 1400's when the "9th high priest" from the area, Nichiu Shonin restored the fortunes of Taisekiji that Taiseki-ji once again had any claim to distinctiveness. Nichiu did at least three things. First he appropriated some "reversal style" ideas of some local Fuji School teachers, that placed Nichiren himself in identity with the Buddha of the sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra. He also purchased, or repurchased the "Dai-Gohonzon" from a laygroup that had bought it from his own disciples and made that the principle object of worship of his main temple. Later it was claimed that this Wooden Gohonzon had been planed at the behest of Nichiren himself by Nippo and was thus a special Gohonzon, inscribed "for all mankind," from which all other Gohonzon received their authority. For more on this read on his page, or the "Fuji School" page. Fuji scholars sought to remodel the Temple and remake it as a head temple in its own right. This was done in order to make it a worthwhile rival to the temples of the other schools, which were often more centrally located.

For the timeline of the Fuji School's priests see
http://webspace.webring.com/people/uc/chris_holte/fujilineagei.html
For more on the Dai-Gohonzon and related subjects visit:
Nippo Shonin is who is said to have carved it
Nichiu Shonin is who is said to have "discovered it."
Dai Gohonzon, Gohonzon in general and honzon

Yoboji

Nichizon (1265-1345) was a disciple of Nikko, who travelled to Kyoto with Nichimoku and Nichigo who were also Nikko's disciples. When Nichimoku died on the way and Nichigo returned to Fuji with his ashes. Nichizon alone went on to Kyoto. There he joined disciples from the other Nichiren Schools in creating a period in which Nichirenism in Kyoto came to be a dominant force in the civil and religious life of the population there. (See Nichirenism page). In 1339, he established the Jogyo-in Temple. When Nichizon passed on the Jogyo-in to his disciple Nichi-in, his other disciple Nichidai (not Nikko's disciple) left and founded Juhonji Temple in 1363. Both temples were burned down in 1536 during the Tenmon Persecution. They were united and rebuilt as Yoboji Temple in 1548. For a period Yobo-ji priests were the source for the high priests of Nichiren Shoshu. They saw Shakyamuni and Nichiren as both being part of the "eternal Buddha." Their influence on Nichiren Shoshu ended with Nichikan Shonin's six volume writings.

Family Temple

Taisekiji has also retained some of the characteristics of a "family" temple as Nanjo Tokimitsu's Nanjo clan and it's descendents pursued an involvement with it's affairs that continues to this day. This also was true with the former Omosu Seminary and the Ishikawa's, and all through the "Kanto" or eastern region, where the principle support for Nichirenism came from the families of converted "Jito's. Some of the dark days recorded in the "Untold Story of the Fuji School" are do to the influence of the local families, all of whom descended from Nanjo tokimitsu's family. Indeed I've been told that Nikken Shonin is a direct descendent of Nanjo Tokimitsu, though that could have been a lie and I haven't been able to corrobrate it yet. (If i find out differently I'll make a correction). For more on Nikko Shonin visit nikko.html I'm told there are wooden and paper Gohonzon which belong to some of these local families and don't belong to Taisekiji.

Myorenji and Myohonji

After the death of Nikke (1252-1334), one of the first set of Nikko's disciples, Nanjo Tokimitsu turned his residence in Shimojo into Myorenji Temple. That lineage still exists. When Nichimoku left Taisekji Temple for Kyoto, he left Nichido (1283-13410) in charge of that temple. When Nichigo (1272-1353) returned with Nichimoku's ashes he fully expected to take back control of the temple. Both claimed a transmission of authority from Nikko. Naturally this resulted in a dispute between Nichigo and Nichido, and eventually Nichigo was forced to leave Taisekiji Temple. He went to Hota where he founded Myohonji Temple around 1343.

Dispute between Kitayama Honmonji and Nishayama Honmonji

Another dispute arose at Kitayama Honmonji, originally Omosu Seminary, because the patron of the temple, Ishikawa Sanetada, wanted to remove Nichidai. Kitayama Honmonji was eventually to have the transfer documents claiming to give authority over Nichiren believers to Nikko Shonin. He eventually succeeded and replaced him with Nichimyo. Nichidai went to Nishiyama and founded a new temple with the name Honmonji in 1343. That temple is known as Nishiyama Honmonji as opposed to Kitayama Honmonji.

In an attempt to upstage Kityama Honmonji Temple, the Myohonji Temple founded Kuonji Temple in the town of Koizumi in the Fuji District in 1406.

At this point there were five major temples of Nikko's Lineage in the Fuji District: Taisekiji, Kitayama Honmonji, Nishiyama Honmonji, Koizumi Kuonji, and Shimojo Myorenji. These five are known collectively as the Five Fuji Temples. Outside of the Fuji area, there would eventually be three other important temples of the Fuji Lineage: Yanase Jitsujoji, Hota Myohonji, and Yoboji in Kyoto (formerly the Jogyo-in and Juhonji Temples).

Nichiu Shonin

The "distinctive doctrines" [this is a quote from Michael Ryuie] that would later characterize the Nichiren Shoshu appeared during the tenure of the Nichiu (1409-1482), the ninth high priest of Taisekiji Temple. The first development was the teaching of Nichigen (?-1486) of Nishiyama Honmonji identifying Nichiren Shonin as the Buddha. This theory appeared in the Gonin-shohasho-kenmon which was written sometime between 1470-1479. Nichigen and Nichiu were friends and so it is very likely that Nichiu got the idea that Nichiren Shonin is the True Buddha from Nichigen. (See page on nichiu.html or my essay on the subject)

Transfer Documents

The second development was the first mention of the "Two Transfer Documents" in a work called the Hyaku-gojikka-jo written by Nikkyo (1428-1489?) at Taisekiji Temple in 1480. Nikkyo was originally a priest at Juhonji, but he moved to Taisekiji and became Nichiu's disciple. The Two Transfer Documents are the Ikegami Sojo and the Minobu Sojo. They are alleged to be forgeries ascribed to Nichiren in which he entrusts the Dharma entirely to Nikko.

The Two Transfer Documents are considered to be forgeries because of a number of reasons. The first one is that they aren't mentioned by the principles in the earliest lineage fights. You would think that Nikko would have at least referenced such documents if he had had them, but he didn't.

The second is that there are inconsistencies between them, inconsistencies in terms of their content and Taisekiji claims. These inconsistencies betray the cross purposes of their originators. One refers to building "Honmonji" at the foot of Mt. Fuji -- which would presumably mean Kitayama Honmonji. Both also seem to be inconsistent with the actual situation at the time of Nichiren Shonin's death in that Nissho was accorded "highest" rank. But they do represent the emotionalism of the claim represented by the Nikko/Fuji School to being the only "true to the teacher" school. Nikko had first expressed that feeling early on in his disputes with the other priests.

It was during Dai-gohonzon first appeared explicitly in public records. Nichijo (d.1493)(see Fuji Shugyo Shaku and page on Nichiu for more) -- a contemporary of Nichiu and the head priest of Kitayama Honmonji actually accused Nichiu of forging the Ita-mandara (the Daigohonzon) as well as many other writings. As with the Transfer Documents, there are many reasons why the Ita-mandara is only validated through oral traditions and may well not have been inscribed by Nichiren himself.

The Yobo-ji Captivity

The high priests of Taisekiji Temple from 1617-1707 all came from Yoboji Temple. Michael Ryu claims that, in addition, the "Ita-mandara" was kept in storage until the Meiji Restoration. Part of the reason for this was doctrinal, part was the total cessation of debate and shakubuku efforts between the various Buddhist schools due to Tokugawa repression. The doctrinal justification of it was restored when the priest Nichikan Shonin wrote a remonstration with previous doctrines known as the six volume writing. During this time there were instances of child priests, sudden deaths where priests had to resume the office of "Noke" (high priest) and times when Taisekiji had to be "reformed." And for most of the time it was dominated by descendents of the Tokimitsu clan.

Nichikan Shonin

Nichikan (1665-1726) was the 26th high priest of Taisekiji Temple and he is considered to be the one who consolidated and systematized the distinct doctrines of Nichiren Shoshu, especially the doctrine that Nichiren Shonin is the Eternal Buddha, not Shakyamuni Buddha. His works are known as the "six volumne writings" and he made a prediction that if his works were "true" he would die peacefully. He died peacefuly

Unfortunately Nichikan was also responsible for strengthening the power of the High Priest through the doctrine of the "inheritance of the essence of the law." That this started out as a "Kuden" or secret transmission tradition, is of no doubt. Such doctrines were founded in esoteric tantric schools and the Tendai School and were particularly common in Zen schools. In this case it was meant to strengthen the authority of priests who would otherwise have little authority due to being young, of a particular family, or from a tiny school in an out of the way place.

School Developments Meiji to present

In 1874, Taisekiji Temple became part of the Shoretsu Branch of Nichiren Buddhism by the decree of the new Meiji government. In 1876, the eight major temples of the Nikko Lineage seperated from the other Shoretsu Sects and became the Komon-ha. In 1899, the Komon-ha became the Honmon Shu. In 1900, Taisekiji Temple went independent and took the name Nichiren Shu Fuji-ha. In 1912, it finally took the name Nichiren Shoshu. The Honmon Shu became a part of Nichiren Shu in 1941. During World War II it resisted efforts to join the other sects into one all encompassing school, and this is part of what led tothe death of the founder of one of its laygroups[Makiguchi]. In 1950, the Yoboji Temple seceded from Nichiren Shu and became Nichiren Honshu. Nishiyama Honmonji also went independent. Shimojo Myorenji and Hota Myohonji joined Nichiren Shoshu. Kitayama Honmonji, Koizumi Kuonji, and Yanase Jitsujoji temples all remained with Nichiren Shu. It gets confusing.

Modern times

In the 1930's Nichiren Shoshu, under the patronage of Nichiko Hori and with the encouragement of the then Tokyo based priest Reverend Horigome, sponsered the formation of a tiny lay group, primarilly of teachers named the "Soka Kyoiku Gakkai" after converting the thinker and teacher of teachers, Tsunesuburu Makiguchi. During this same time another faction of priests and laymen, led by the priest Jiko Ogasawara led efforts to portray Nichiren as an emmanation of the Sun Goddess and thus accommodate Shinto and Japanese Nationalism. Tsunesuburu Makiguchi and Toda went to jail for opposing these efforts. During the war High Priest Nikkyo (Not Hori) died in a fire while Taisekiji was occupied by Korean Conscripts, "Sokagakkai."

After the war ended, In the late 1940's, this group was renamed the Sokagakkai. In 1991 this group broke with Nichiren Shoshu and was later "excommunicated" for this. With the help of the Sokagakkai, Nichiren Shoshu first rebuilt itself, and then soared to become the largest Nichiren School in Japan. That organization would rise to heights in the 60's and seventies. In the seventies under Nittatsu Shonin Nichiren Shoshu would build the Sho Hondo Temple. The remnants of the nationalists, now called the "Myokanko" opposed this temple and were excommunicated. Nittatsu died and was replaced by Nikken Shonin. Nikken was opposed by some of his priests who would become a "Shoshinkai" group. After that internal dissension and doctrinal/power issues led both organizations to split from one another. Present day Fuji School groups include the Sokagakkai, Nichiren Shoshu, and Shoshinkai. There are also smaller groups based around one or more Fuji School Temples. There are even parts of the Fuji School that joined with Nichiren Shu. However, when people think of the Fuji School, they think of either Nichiren Shoshu, or Soka Gakkai. For more on them follow the embedded links.

And specifically visit:
the pages on NST first and then the Gakkai.

Further Readings

Websites with information:
http://www6.ocn.ne.jp/~nichiren/Disciples.html
http://the-eternal-buddha.com/nikko.html
http://www.caic.org.au/eastern/soka/hirano.htm
http://www.nstmyosenji.org/goshos/2003/JunLect03.htm
Note how each website says almost diametrically opposed things.
The Untold History of the Fuji School contains much information, but it is also based on a book that Nichiren Shoshu possesses named the Fuji Shugakuyoshu. This is a controversial work, and like many of the source materials for the various schools somewhat prone to spin things. One is advised to read all the various sources with a little bit of salt.
http://www.sokaspirit.org/downloadable_materials/fuji_school/02_UHFS_Chapter_2.pdf
http://www.sokaspirit.org/downloadable_materials/fuji_school/03_UHFS_Chapter_3.pdf
Fire in the Lotus
http://www.nstmyosenji.org/sermons/1997/koshi.htm
http://campross.crosswinds.net/Ryuei/SixDisciples_02.html
I've tried to present a fairly even account. There is a lot to learn here and a lot I haven't covered. And many more sources.

Footnotes and links

  1. http://www.sokaspirit.org/downloadable_materials/fuji_school/02_UHFS_Chapter_2.pdf, also corrobrated with material from "Fire in the Lotus" by Daniel Montgomery
  2. >note the various schools each present a different story of Nitcho -- the untold history depicts him as an entirely different person from other versions of the same story -- other versions from the Taisekiji school show that their version is a lie. Sometimes you learn a lot by noticing these kinds of discrepancies. If they didn't also use the story of Nitcho to bolster the claim that the transfer documents are real, the lie would never have been exposed and we could go on believing that the six elder priest Nitcho was different from the one who taught at Omosu.
  3. To be added

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