Kawate Bunjiro

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Kawate Bunjiro (1814–83). Founder of Konkōkyō, a Japanese new religion. During a serious illness when he was 42, he encountered Konjin, a malevolent Kami, in a healing ceremony, and from that time pronounced him to be beneficent rather than the opposite. He began to call him Kane no Kami (‘the kami of gold’), Tenchi Kane no Kami (‘the golden kami of heaven and earth’), and Konkō Daijin (‘the great kami of golden light’). He began to receive direct communications from Konkō Daijin, and in 1859 he retired from farming in order to mediate between the kami and human beings. This date is regarded by adherents as the founding date of Konkōkyō, although it was not organized until 1885, after his death, being recognized by the government in 1900. After 1859, Kawate took the name of Konkō Daijin and met individuals who came to him, to act as a direct link between themselves and the kami.