NICHIRENSHŪ broadly refers to all religious bodies claiming derivation from the Japanese Buddhist teacher Nichiren (1222–1282), including traditional temple denominations as well as lay associations and new religious movements. While Nichirenshū is also the official name of a specific Nichiren Buddhist denomination, this entry will address the larger Nichiren tradition. Nichiren Buddhism is based on faith in the Lotus Sūtra (in Japanese, Myōhō-renge-kyō ; sometimes shortened to Hōkekyō), a Mahāyāna scripture revered throughout East Asia for its promise that all shall attain buddhahood. The central practice of Nichiren Buddhism is chanting the daimoku or title of the Lotus in the formula Namu Myōhō-renge-kyō (literally, "Homage to the sūtra of the lotus blossom of the wonderful dharma "), said to embody all the Buddha's practices and resulting virtues as well as the essence of all Buddhist teachings.
The Founder Nichiren
Nichiren is regarded as one of the founders of the new Buddhist movements of the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and numbers among Japan's most compelling religious figures. Ordained at age sixteen at the temple Kiyosumidera (or Seichōji) in Awa province (modern Chiba prefecture), as a young man he traveled extensively for study. He was versed especially in Tendai Buddhist teachings and also in Esoteric Buddhism. Eventually he based himself in Kamakura, center of the recently established shogunate or military government, where he won followers among the warriors of the eastern provinces. Nichiren is known for his teaching of exclusive devotion to the Lotus Sūtra, regarded especially in the Tendai tradition as embodying the Buddha's ultimate teaching. Like many of his contemporaries, Nichiren believed his own time to be that of the Final Dharma age (mappō) ; in this degenerate era, he asserted that only faith in the Lotus Sūtra leads to liberation, and he advocated chanting its daimoku as a universal practice. In chanting the daimoku with faith, Nichiren taught, the practitioner becomes one with the eternal, original Buddha revealed in the Lotus Sūtra. He also devised a calligraphic maṇḍala written chiefly in Chinese characters with the daimoku inscribed down the center, surrounded by the buddhas, bodhisattvas, deities, and other members of the Lotus Sūtra assembly. Nichiren made numerous individual copies of this maṇḍala as a personal object of worship for his followers.
Drawing on Tendai teachings concerning the unity of mind and all phenomena, and of individuals and their objective world, Nichiren attributed the disasters of his day—including famine, epidemics, natural disasters, and the threat of Mongol invasion—to widespread rejection of the Lotus Sūtra in favor of "inferior" teachings, such as those of Pure Land Buddhism and Zen. Conversely, he held that the spread of exclusive faith in the Lotus would transform the present world into a buddha land. Nichiren maintained this conviction throughout his life, but its most famous statement occurs in his admonitory treatise Risshō ankoku ron (On establishing the true dharma and bringing peace to the land), submitted in 1260 to Hōjō Tokiyori, the most powerful figure in the Kamakura government.
Nichiren's growing conviction that only faith in the Lotus Sūtra could save the country from disaster led him to adopt shakubuku, a confrontational method of teaching the dharma by directly rebuking attachment to mistaken views. His criticisms of other forms of Buddhism, and of high officials for supporting them, provoked the anger of the authorities. He himself was arrested and exiled twice, while a number of his followers were imprisoned, stripped of their land holdings, and in a few cases executed. For Nichiren, however, loyalty to the Lotus Sūtra superseded obedience to worldly rule. His writings assert the need to admonish "slander of the dharma " as an act of compassion, even at the risk of one's life, and express confidence that enduring harsh trials for the sake of the Lotus Sūtra will eradicate the practitioner's past sins and guarantee his or her future buddhahood. Nichiren's ideal of realizing the buddha land in the present world, and his example in defying worldly authority for the sake of his faith, have inspired followers and sympathizers down to the present. At the same time, his exclusive truth claim has generated considerable controversy.
The Medieval HokkeshŪ
Shortly before his death, Nichiren designated six senior disciples to assume leadership of his community: Renge Ajari Nichiji (1250–?), Iyokō Nitchō (1252–1317), Sadokō Nikō (1253–1314), Byakuren Ajari Nikkō (1246–1333), Daikoku Ajari Nichirō (1245–1320), and Ben Ajari Nisshō (1221–1323). Nichiji is said to have embarked in 1295 on a journey to northern China to spread Nichiren's teachings abroad; the others proselytized chiefly in eastern Japan. Congregations formed around them and their successors, giving rise to the first lineages of the Hokkeshū (Hokke or Lotus sect), as Nichiren's followers would be known in medieval times. Mount Minobu in Kai province (Yamanashi prefecture), where Nichiren had spent his last years, held special significance for the sect as a whole; in addition, each lineage established its own major temple or temples, which served as centers of propagation and monastic education. Branch temple networks formed as new temples were built or converted. Within a half century of his death, Nichiren's teachings had spread throughout Japan.
Early on, Nikkō's Fuji lineage broke away from the others. Nikkō's successors would claim retrospectively that he alone had been Nichiren's true dharma heir. This first schism was a decisive one; to this day, Nichiren Shōshū—the chief modern successor of the Fuji school—maintains its own distinctive interpretations. Further schisms and new lineage formation would occur during the fourteenth through sixteen centuries due to geographic separation, institutional rivalry, and differences of interpretation.
After 1333, when the Kamakura shogunate was overthrown and the locus of political power shifted back to the imperial capital in Kyoto, Hokke monks began to proselytize there. Nichirō's disciples took the lead in this endeavor: Nichizō (1269–1342) established the Shijō lineage, and Nichijō (1298–1369) the Rokujō lineage, followed by representatives of other Hokkeshū branches. In the predominantly rural east, Hokke temples were supported chiefly by the patronage of provincial warriors or other local landholders. In the western cities of Kyoto and Sakai, however, while attracting some warrior and even aristocratic followers, the Hokkeshū drew its major support from the emerging urban mercantile class (machishū ), whose wealth enabled the sect to prosper. By the mid-fifteenth century, there were twenty-one Hokke temples in Kyoto, and about half the city's population, it is said, were Nichiren followers.
Despite institutional friction and differences of interpretation, the Hokkeshū shared doctrinal foundations with Tendai, and Hokke monks often studied at major Tendai centers, such as Enryakuji on Mount Hiei near Kyoto or Tendai seminaries in the east. Nonetheless, they upheld a strong sense of independent Hokkeshū identity and actively practiced shakubuku by preaching, writing, and debate. From time to time, temple abbots and lineage heads followed Nichiren's example of "admonishing the state" by submitting letters of remonstration to local or shogunal officials or occasionally, to the shogun or emperor himself, urging a policy of exclusive devotion to the Lotus Sūtra for the country's peace and prosperity. Repeated remonstrations sometimes provoked official wrath, and the sect's hagiographical tradition celebrates those monks who, like Nichiren, endured persecution from the authorities in the course of their proselytizing efforts.
Tensions and Controversies
Like other medieval Japanese Buddhist traditions, the Hokkeshū was characterized by the development of rival lineages, each stressing the authority of its own interpretations in both doctrinal and ritual matters. Often these interpretations took the form of "secret transmissions" said to derive from Nichiren himself or from his immediate disciples. One focus of ongoing doctrinal dispute involved the two parts into which traditional Tendai exegesis divides the Lotus Sūtra —the "trace teaching" (shakumon ), or first fourteen chapters, which present Śākyamuni Buddha as a "trace" or historical manifestation, and the "origin teaching" (honmon ), or latter fourteen chapters, which identify him as the eternal, original Buddha. Nichiren had based his thought on the origin teaching, but his successors debated the precise relationship between trace and origin teachings. The so-called itchi (unity) faction held them to be ultimately one and inseparable, while the shōretsu (superior-inferior) faction held the origin teaching to be distinct and superior. Both positions were variously elaborated. While this debate probably held little relevance for most lay believers, it afforded scholar-monks a vehicle to display their erudition and was central to the self-definition of their particular Hokke lineages.
Other controversies involved matters of practice, such as whether Nichiren had ultimately intended the "Buddha" or the "dharma " as the true object of worship, along with the related issue of whether or not the icon employed in actual practice should be an image of the eternal Śākyamuni Buddha or Nichiren's calligraphic maṇḍala. Differences concerning the object of worship continue to this day. Still other controversies involved the ongoing issue of how rigorously Nichiren's Lotus exclusivism should be maintained, and what concessions might legitimately be made to the larger religious culture. An example was the propriety of venerating the kami, or local Japanese deities. Since shrines to the kami were often affiliated with other Buddhist schools, some Hokke monks argued that making offerings at such shrines was tantamount to supporting "dharma slanderers." In the fourteenth century, many Hokke temples began to incorporate their own mode of kami veneration in the form of a cult of thirty protector deities (sanjūbanjin ), one for each day of the month, and scholars of the sect produced distinctive theories of Hokke Shintō, a subset of a larger medieval discourse incorporating kami into a Buddhist framework. Nonetheless, a minority opinion within the Hokkeshū opposed venerating kami altogether.
Ascendancy, Suppression, and Accommodation
As shogunal power declined following the Ōnin War (1467–1477), townspeople in Kyoto had to mount their own defenses against incursions from provincial warlords and armed peasant leagues. In an era when religious institutions were also economic, political, and even military powers in their own right, the townspeople's district organizations for self-government and self-protection were closely tied to their Hokke temples. The sect's exclusivist orientation served as a basis for machishū solidarity vis-à-vis traditional overlords, who included not only aristocrats and warriors but also powerful shrines and temples. In 1532, having united with warrior allies to repel peasant forces organized by the Jōdo Shin, or True Pure Land sect, the Hokke-based machishū set up a virtually autonomous government in Kyoto, carrying out police and judicial functions and refusing to pay various taxes and rents. The reign of the Lotus League (Hokke ikki ) lasted until 1536, when monks of Mount Hiei, joined by other traditional elites who resented the erosion of their authority in the capital, attacked and burned every Hokke temple in Kyoto.
While eventually able to rebuild, the Hokkeshū never regained its original strength in the capital. It was further weakened by the religious policies of successive warlords—Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu—who suppressed the power of Buddhist sects and temples in their efforts to extend their rule. In 1595, when Hideyoshi demanded the participation of a hundred monks from each sect in monthly memorial services for his deceased relatives, most Hokke leaders saw no choice but to comply, although joining in intersectarian rites and receiving offerings from Hideyoshi, a nonbeliever, violated strict Lotus exclusivism. However, the monk Busshōin Nichiō (1565–1630) initiated a dissident movement known as fuju fuse (neither receiving nor giving), meaning a refusal to accept offerings from those who do not embrace the Lotus Sūtra or to provide them with ritual services. Nichiō insisted that believers should defy even the ruler to uphold the purity of Nichiren's teaching, even at the cost of their lives. His position eventually gained support, dividing the Hokkeshū between fuju fuse proponents and those favoring a more accommodating stance. The new Tokugawa shogunate, established in Edo (modern Tokyo) in 1603, saw in the fuju fuse movement a threat to its authority and policy of religious control and suppressed it repeatedly, sometimes with the cooperation of conciliatory factions within the Hokkeshū itself. Fuju fuse leaders were killed or exiled and their followers driven underground. Like the Japanese Christianity of the same period, which was similarly persecuted, the fuju fuse movement stands as a striking example of religiously based defiance of ruling power.
Under the new government, Buddhist temples of all sects were integrated into the state apparatus of census taking and social control; temple registration became mandatory for all families, and changing sectarian affiliation was forbidden. Traditional shakubuku and intersectarian debates were no longer possible. Like other sects, the Hokkeshū (or Nichirenshū, as the sect was by now alternatively called) turned its energies toward doctrinal study, an effort that flourished in the context of an emergent print culture. New Nichiren Buddhist seminaries were established throughout the country; compilations of Nichiren's writings were edited and published; and sectarian doctrine was codified. Accounts of Nichiren's life were also published, sometimes with illustrations and in vernacular Japanese. These hagiographies both reflected and encouraged a trend toward founder veneration, expressed in pilgrimages to sacred sites, festivals marking events in Nichiren's life, and the traveling display of statues, maṇḍalas, or other sacred objects held by noted temples. Such activities were supported by the many associations of lay followers (kō or kōchū ) that flourished especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, often under lay leadership. Images of Nichiren as a religious hero also circulated in the wider society, events in his life being dramatized in kabuki performances, the puppet theater, and also popular storytelling.
Modern Developments and Interpretations
After the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate and the Meiji restoration (1868), the Nichiren Hokkeshū was reorganized. In 1876 the itchi lineages united as one denomination under the name Nichirenshū, while the major shōretsu lineages each took independent names; the fuju fuse faction also resurfaced and gained legal recognition. The most striking feature of modern Nichiren Buddhism, however, is its vigorous lay movements, often independent of traditional temples—a phenomenon unparalleled in other Japanese Buddhist sects. Some lay Nichiren Buddhist organizations have roots in early modern lay associations such as the Butsuryūkō, founded in 1857. Others emerged after the Meiji restoration. The influential Kokuchūkai (Pillar of the nation society), founded by Tanaka Chigaku (1861–1939), promoted what he called Nichiren-shugi (Nichirenism), a lay-oriented reading of Nichiren Buddhism welded to concerns of nationalism and modernization. (This term, Nichiren-shugi, has also come to be used in a broader sense to encompass all forms of Nichiren-Buddhist influenced thought.) Other Nichiren- or Lotus Sūtra -based lay groups have often been categorized as "new religions" and include Reiyūkai, Risshō Kōseikai, and Sōka Gakkai. Such groups frequently engage in active proselytizing and stress personal benefits, character development, and social transformation through faith. Nichiren himself has continued to be celebrated as a Japanese cultural figure; in the twentieth century alone, more than a hundred literary works about him appeared, including novels, plays, and biographies.
During Japan's modern imperial period (1895–1945), Nichiren's mandate to spread faith in the Lotus Sūtra was widely interpreted in terms of Japanese national destiny and the armed expansion of empire. Tanaka Chigaku and Honda Nisshō (1867–1931), head of the Nichiren denomination Kenpon Hokkeshū, were especially influential in promulgating nationalistic Nichirenist ideology and won support from military officers, government officials, and intellectuals. Tanaka's Japan-centered reading of Nichiren doctrine, which equated the Lotus Sūtra with the Japanese national polity (kokutai ), inspired such figures as the right-wing nationalist author Kita Ikki (1883–1937) and army officer Ishiwara Kanji (1889–1949), who was instrumental in Japan's 1931 armed takeover of Manchuria. Among Nichirenshū clerics as well, some extremist ideologues aligned themselves with state Shintō and asserted the emperor to be the object of worship.
Nonetheless, one finds significant exceptions to these imperialistic readings. The Christian leader Uchimura Kanzō (1861–1930) admired Nichiren for his devotion to scripture and the courage of his religious commitment. The leftist writer Seno'o Girō (1890–1961), imprisoned for his socialist activities, looked to Nichiren as a figure of resistance. Some writers originally drawn to Tanaka's Nichiren-shugi also came to reject his nationalistic interpretation: The literary critic and novelist Takayama Chōgyū (1871–1902) saw Nichiren as a heroic "Nietzschian" individual who valued truth above nation, while the poet Miyazawa Kenji (1896–1933) depicted the plight of impoverished farmers from the perspective of his Lotus Sūtra faith.
During the Fifteen Years' War (1931–1945), under a government religious policy dominated by state Shintō, some Nichiren believers met persecution for their beliefs. In the 1930s and 1940s, government ministries repeatedly demanded that sectarian officials delete from Nichiren's works passages deemed disrespectful to Japanese deities or emperors. Sōka Gakkai founder Makiguchi Tsunesaburō (1871–1944) refused to have his followers accept the talismans of the imperial Ise Shrine and was imprisoned with other leaders of his society on charges of violating the Peace Preservation Law; leaders within the denomination Hokke Honmonshū were also indicted for asserting doctrinal positions contrary to the imperial cult.
Since Japan's defeat in 1945, Nichiren Buddhist followers have widely adopted the causes of peace and opposition to nuclear weapons. The small monastic order Nipponzan Myōhōji has embraced a stance of absolute nonviolence and practices peaceful civil disobedience on the Gandhian model, while lay organizations such as Sōka Gakkai and Risshō Kōseikai are NGO members of the United Nations and support various forms of relief work, peace education, and other humanitarian causes. The assimilation of Nichiren's ideal of establishing the buddha land in the present world to a range of social and political agendas—from militant nationalism to postwar pacifism—is a noteworthy development within modern Nichiren Buddhism.
Organization and Observances
At the turn of the twenty-first century, there are some forty legally recognized Nichiren Buddhist religious bodies. Despite a forced merger of some of the smaller Nichiren sects under the wartime government's policy of religious control, most of the denominational divisions established in the 1870s were reasserted after the war ended. The largest Nichiren Buddhist temple denomination takes Nichirenshū as its legal name and has Kuonji at Mount Minobu in Yamanashi prefecture as its head temple. Risshō University, which is affiliated with Nichirenshū, is home to Japan's leading research institute for the study of Nichiren Buddhist doctrine and history. The other major Nichiren Buddhist denominations include Hokkeshū Honmon-ryū, Hokkeshū Jinmon-ryū, Hokkeshū Shinmon-ryū, Honmon Butsuryūshū, Honmon Hokkeshū, Kenpon Hokkeshū, Nichiren Honshū, Nichiren Kōmonshū, Nichiren Shōshū, and Nichirenshū Fuju Fuse-ha. The numerical strength of contemporary Nichiren Buddhism, however, lies in its lay movements. Sōka Gakkai and Risshō Kōseikai in particular claim membership figures in the millions, including substantial followings outside Japan.
Despite considerable differences of interpretation and ritual observance among Nichiren Buddhist groups, one also finds points of commonality. Reciting portions of the Lotus Sūtra and chanting the daimoku constitute the basic daily practice of both clergy and laity and are also performed at formal ceremonies. In addition to annual rites conducted by temples of all Japanese Buddhist sects, such as New Year's observances and memorial services for the dead at the equinoxes and during the summer Obon festival, Nichiren Buddhist temples and lay organizations hold festivals and ritual observances on dates sacred to their tradition, usually transposed from the lunar to the Western calendar. These include Nichiren's birthday (celebrated February 16); his first sermon, said to mark the founding of the Nichiren sect (April 28); commemorations of various persecutions that Nichiren encountered in spreading his teachings; and the Oeshiki observances commemorating the anniversary of his death (October 13).
Nichiren's works: The critical edition of Nichiren's works is the four-volume Shōwa teihon Nichiren Shōnin ibun published by Minobusan Kuonji (Yamanashi, Japan, 1952–1959; rev. ed., 1988), head temple of Nichirenshū. This edition forms the basis of the Writings of Nichiren Shōnin, two volumes of English translations done by Kyōtsū Hori and others of the Nichirenshū Overseas Propagation Promotion Association (Tokyo, 2002 and 2003). A one-volume edition of Nichiren's works, with those originally written in Sino-Japanese (kanbun ) rendered into Japanese, is the Nichiren Daishōnin zenshū, published by Sōka Gakkai (Tokyo, 1952). The Selected Writings of Nichiren (New York, 1990) and Letters of Nichiren (1996), edited by Philip B. Yampolsky and translated by Burton Watson and others, are based on this edition. These translations represent revisions of those contained in Sōka Gakkai's The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin (7 vols., Tokyo, 1979–1994) and reissued in the one-volume Writings of Nichiren Daishonin (Tokyo, 1999). In addition to Nichiren's writings, there are the critical edition of Nichiren's personally annotated copy of the Lotus Sūtra (Teihon Chū Hokekyō, 2 vols., Kyoto, 1980) and collection of photographic reproductions, with notes, of his extant holographic maṇḍalas (Nichiren Shōnin shinseki no sekai, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1992), both edited by Yamanaka Kihachi.
The later tradition: The 23-volume Nichirenshū shūgaku zensho, edited by the Risshō Daigaku Nichirenshū Kyōgaku Kenkyūjo (Tokyo, 1959–1962), contains historical records and other writings from the major Nichiren lineages. The eight-volume Nichirenshū zensho (Tokyo, 1910–1916; rev. ed., Kyoto, 1973–1978) contains late medieval and early modern commentaries on Nichiren's works, as well as biographies of Nichiren and later figures in the tradition. There are also collections of the works of individual figures or records of particular lineages in the Nichiren tradition, as well as the Honzon shiryō (rev. ed., Kyoto, 1998), a collection of medieval transmissions concerning Nichiren's maṇḍala. As yet one finds little secondary scholarship on Nichiren Buddhism in Western languages, but numerous studies and reference works exist in Japanese, a few of which are cited below.
Allam, Cheryl M. "The Nichiren and Catholic Confrontation with Japanese Nationalism." Buddhist-Christian Studies 10 (1990): 35–84.
Dolce, Lucia. "Esoteric Patterns in Nichiren's Interpretation of the Lotus Sutra." Ph.D. diss., University of Leiden, Netherlands, 2002.
Dolce, Lucia. "Hokke Shinto: Kami in the Nichiren Tradition." In Buddhas and Kami in Japan: Honji Suijaku as a Combinatory Paradigm, edited by Mark Teeuwen and Fabio Rambelli, pp. 222–254. London and New York, 2003.
Fujii Manabu. Hokke bunka no tenkai. Kyoto, 2002. Collected historical essays on medieval and early modern Hokke Buddhist culture in Kyoto and other localities, prominent figures within the sect, and its relations with the state.
Habito, Ruben L. F. "Lotus Buddhism and its Liberational Thrust: A Re-reading of the Lotus Sutra by Way of Nichiren." Ching Feng 35, no. 2 (1992): 85–111.
Habito, Ruben L. F., and Jacqueline I. Stone, eds. Revisiting Nichiren. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 26, nos. 3–4 (1999). A special issue focused on Nichiren in his historical context and including a select bibliography of Western-language studies of the Nichiren tradition.
Hunter, Jeffrey. "The Fuju Fuse Controversy in Nichiren Buddhism: The Debate between Busshōin Nichiō and Jakushōin Nichiken." Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989.
Imatani Akira. Tenbun Hokke no ran: Busō suru machishū. Tokyo, 1989. A study of the rise and decline of the Hokkeshū in medieval Kyoto.
Kageyama Gyōō. Nichiren kyōdanshi gaisetsu. Kyoto, 1959. An overview of Nichirenshū history through the 1950s.
Kitamura Gyōon. Kinsei kaichō no kenkyū. Tokyo, 1989. A study of the activities of early modern Nichiren Buddhist temples and lay societies, focusing on the practice of kaichō, the ritualized display of maṇḍalas, images, or temple treasures not usually on view.
Matsumura Jugon. Nichirenshū gireishi no kenkyū. Kyoto, 2001. A study of the history of Nichiren Buddhist ritual practices, including liturgies, funerals, and memorial rites.
Miyazaki Eishū. Fuju Fuse-ha no genryū to tenkai. Kyoto, 1969. A classic study of the fuju fuse movement and its persecution, with attention to doctrinal roots, social context, and historical development.
Miyazaki Eishū, ed. Nichiren jiten. Tokyo, 1978. A basic dictionary of the Nichiren tradition.
Mochizuki Shinchō. Kinsei Nichirenshū no soshi shinkō to shugojin shinkō. Kyoto, 2002. A study of founder veneration, sacred sites, pilgrimage, and cults of protective deities in early modern Nichiren Buddhism.
Nakano Kyōtoku, ed. Kindai Nichiren kyōdan no shisōka. Tokyo, 1977. Includes studies of eight leading figures in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Nichiren Buddhism.
Nakao Takashi. Nichiren shinkō no keifu to girei. Tokyo, 1999. A historical study of the development of founder veneration and related practices in Nichiren Buddhism.
Nichirenshū Jiten Kankō Iinkai, ed. Nichirenshū jiten. Tokyo, 1981. A comprehensive dictionary of the history of Nichiren Buddhism, indispensable for scholarly study.
Ōtani Eiichi. Kindai Nihon no Nichiren-shugi undō. Kyoto, 2001. A detailed study of the nationalistic Nichirenist movements of Tanaka Chigaku and Honda Nisshō.
Risshō Daigaku Nichirenshū Kyōgaku Kenkyūjo, ed. Nichiren kyōdan zenshi, vol. 1. Kyoto, 1984. The first in a projected two-volume history of the Nichiren sect, based on primary sources. This volume covers up to the early seventeenth century.
Shigyō Kaishū. Nichirenshū kyōgakushi. Kyoto, 1952. A history of Nichiren Buddhist doctrinal studies, organized by lineage, up through the mid-nineteenth century.
Stone, Jacqueline. "Rebuking the Enemies of the Lotus : Nichirenist Exclusivism in Historical Perspective." Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 21, nos. 2–3 (1994): 231–259.
Stone, Jacqueline I. Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism. Honolulu, 1999. Chapters six and seven deal respectively with Nichiren and his medieval successors, with attention to their interactions with Tendai Buddhism.
Takagi Yutaka. Nichiren to sono montei. Tokyo, 1965. A classic study of Nichiren and his early community of followers in their medieval social context.
Tamura Yoshirō and Miyazaki Eishū, eds. Kōza Nichiren 3: Nichiren shinkō no rekishi. Tokyo, 1972. A collection of essays on the history of Nichiren Buddhism.
Tamura Yoshirō and Miyazaki Eishū, eds. Kōza Nichiren 4: Nihon kindai to Nichiren-shugi. Tokyo, 1972. Collected essays on aspects of modern Nichirenism, including nationalism, images of Nichiren, and new religious movements.
Tanabe, George J., Jr. "Tanaka Chigaku: The Lotus Sutra and the Body Politic." In The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture, edited by George J. Tanabe Jr. and Willa Jane Tanabe, pp. 191–208. Honolulu, 1989.
Tokoro Shigemoto. Kindai shakai to Nichiren-shugi. Tokyo, 1972. An overview of Nichirenist thought, figures, and movements from the late nineteenth century up to the 1970s.
Watanabe Hōyō. Nichirenshū shingyōron no kenkyū. Kyoto, 1976. A study of medieval and early modern Nichirenshū discourses of faith and practice.
Jacqueline I. Stone (2005)
"Nichirenshū." Encyclopedia of Religion. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nichirenshu
"Nichirenshū." Encyclopedia of Religion. . Retrieved September 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nichirenshu