Glossary: Kennyo

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Kennyo (顕如)
Feb. 1543 - Dec. 27, 1592

Also known as: Hongan-ji Kennyo, Hongan-ji Kousa

Chief Abbot of Ishiyama Hongan Temple, fortress of the Ikkou-ikki, Kennyo became the 11th head of the Hongan Temple in Kyoto upon his father Shounyo's death in 1554, when he was 12. Kennyo was renowned as a strategist who engineered many alliances in the Sengoku Era and made Ishiyama Hongan Temple virtually unbreachable. His wife was the third daughter of Sanjou Kinyori (sister to Takeda Shingen's wife, Sanjou-no-kata), and they got along very well.

Kennyo aided Shingen by persuading the Ikkou sectarians in Kaga Province to rise up against Uesugi Kenshin. He allied himself with Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki and created an anti-Oda alliance with the Takeda, Asakura, Azai, and Mouri clans. The alliance failed upon Takeda Shingen's death in 1573.

In 1570, Oda Nobunaga laid siege to Ishiyama Hongan Temple, a siege that would last 10 years, the longest in Japan's history. Kennyo left the temple to attempt to raise reinforcements, and his son surrendered to Nobunaga by request of the Emperor.

Kennyo later enlisted the help of Ikkou sectarians for Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who granted Kennyo a new Hongan Temple (now known as Nishi-Hongan Temple) in 1589.