Omori Sogen

Ōmori Sōgen Rōshi
Religion Rinzai
Born 1904
Died 1994
Senior posting
Based in Tenryū-ji
Title Rōshi
Predecessor Seki Bokuo
In this Japanese name, the family name is Ōmori.

Ōmori Sōgen (大森 曹玄, 19041994) was a Japanese Rinzai Rōshi, a successor in the Tenryū-ji line of Rinzai Zen, and former president of Hanazono University, the Rinzai university in Kyoto, Japan. He became a priest in 1945.


Ōmori Sōgen was a teacher of Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryū swordsmanship,[1] and a calligrapher in the Taishi school of Yamaoka Tesshū. He became well known for his unique approach to Zen practice integrating insights from his martial and fine arts training with traditional Zen methods; this approach has been described as a unity of Zen, Ken ("sword", referring to martial arts or physical culture), and Sho ("brush", referring to calligraphy or fine arts).

Ōmori founded Seitaiji monastery in Japan and Daihonzan Chozen-ji in Honolulu, Hawaii, the first Rinzai headquarters temple established outside Japan according to Rinzai canon law.

Dharma successors and descendents of Omori Roshi are active in both Japan and the West. In the United States, along with Chozen-ji, Daiyuzenji has been established in Chicago, and Korinji near Madison, Wisconsin. In Germany and Austria, there are active groups connected to Sasaki Gensō Rōshi and Hozumi Genshō Rōshi.

Ōmori is the author of more than 20 books in the Japanese language.

Ōmori was also well known for his right wing ultra-nationalist[2] political activism and influence in government circles prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Notable students



  1. (Japanese) Jiki Shinkage-ryū Kenjutsu with Ōmori Sōgen. Japan, Nihon Kobudo series, filmed during the 1970s by the Japanese Ministry of Education in a series on many of the traditional koryū. DVD, 2005.
  2. Zen war stories, Daizen Victoria, p85


Further reading

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