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"Kohgen," Japan's Biggest Buddhist Event: Live in the Present. Learn from the Past. Believe in the Future!

Regional Revitalization
Regional Revitalization

"Kohgen," Japan's Biggest Buddhist Event: Live in the Present. Learn from the Past. Believe in the Future!

What's this Challenge about?



Come to "Kohgen," the Biggest Buddhist Event in Japan!


Hi! I'm Gashin Tomomitsu, the heir to Jogyoji Temple in Tokyo. I and my fellow monks are currently putting together a Buddhist event named "Kohgen," where we will offer an opportunity for visitors and participants to reflect on themselves through experiencing various aspects of Japanese culture and traditions. We hope to continue growing this event so more people from all over the world can enjoy this special experience and would like to ask for your help in funding the event.

Kohgen is a rare, great opportunity for anyone from in and outside of Japan to get to know the culture of temples, monks, and traditional artists and performers.

Please help us continue running this unique event!

What Happens at Kohgen?




Kohgen was started in 2011 at a temple in Shinagawa, Tokyo, called Jogyoji. Each time, the event grew bigger and bigger, and has turned into the biggest Buddhist event in Japan.

In running Kogen, we value the following the most:

History


Sophistication


Philosophy and spirituality



At Kohgen, we offer workshops on a wide range of topics from Buddhism-related ones such as yoga, zazen, and Buddhist vegetarian cooking, to Shinto-related ones such as ancient gagaku music and mikomai (dance of shrine maidens), to ones on traditional Japanese culture such as noh, ikebana flower arrangement, Japanese calligraphy, and traditional incense ceremony.

Kohgen might as well be an exposition of any traditional Japanese culture you could think of. We hope everyone who comes to Kohgen will be able to experience the value of "the good and old," connect to their own roots, and discover the drive to build a brighter future.

What We Have Done





Kohgen, the Biggest Buddhist Event in Japan at Zojoji Temple on April 29, 2014


This year, Kohgen will be held at one of the largest temples in Tokyo, Zojoji, with more interesting workshops on topics including Japanese style stab book making, sumi ink, Japanese calligraphy brushes, and the Buddhist taiko. We will also offer panels and classes such as "Conversation Between a Zen Monk and a Brain Scientist" and "Doll Mass with a Special Wooden Fish." The biggest Buddhism-related event in Japan, it will be an exciting opportunity to experience Buddhism and Japanese culture!

Kohgen Sees No Borders



It is really important for us to keep Kohgen a space where people can meet and connect with each other beyond categories such as ethnicities, religions, and schools.

We have always selected our performers and panelists based solely on who they are, not their titles or social statuses. Kohgen will completely change the notion of Buddihsm and traditional Japanese culture as rigid and outdated by reaching out to anyone and everyone.

Everything we offer at Kohgen comes from what used to be a part of people's ordinary lives hundreds of years ago. However, we have lost such "ordinariness" of our lives as our lifestyles have changed over time. We hope to bring such ordinariness" back to our awareness by creating a space where anyone can experience I first-hand.

At Kohgen we see no borders. We're looking forward to seeing you there!

We Aim for 2020, the Year of the Tokyo Olympics!


We are currently aiming to grow Kohgen into a bigger and longer-term event by the year 2020, when the Olympics will be held in Tokyo.

In 2020, people from all around the world will visit Tokyo, not just to enjoy the Olympics but to experience Japan and its traditions and spirituality first-hand. We are planning to host Kohgen at different temples and offer opportunities for Buddhist experience such as zazen, chanting, and worshiping, to meet and speak with Buddhist monks, and to enjoy Japanese traditional arts and crafts in both Japanese and English.

We'd like to show to the world there is more than anime, video games, electronics, and cars to this country. Even those aspects of our culture and technology are deeply rooted in our spirituality. Throughout history, the Japanese have valued spirituality in the form of Buddhist and Shinto practices, indigenous festivals, and customs. Those were all ways to build strong bonds and ethics among the community. Our values, philosophies, and lifestyles are all precious gifts passed down from the people who have walked before us.

We'd like you to experience the history and spirituality that underlines our culture, too.

Kohgen will also be a great way to deliver Japanese culture to the world as a part of the Cool Japan movement. We are very thrilled to turn it into an even bigger project by the year 2020!

Kohgen for Foreign Tourists and International Locations


While we originally started Kohgen to offer Japanese young people a chance to rediscover their own culture and traditions, we are now preparing to deliver the same experience to the foreign audience. As a part of the preparation, we launched three programs in English this year.

1. Zazen experience with Daikoh Matsuyama: Experience zazen with Matsuyama, a Buddhist monk who has been offering zazen and calligraphy workshops in English at Taizoin Temple in the Myoshin-ji complex in Kyoto.

2. "Deep Zojoji Tour": Enjoy a deep tour of Zojoji Temple guided by an English speaking monk and watch the evening services at the Taiden (Great Main Hall), the biggest hall of the complex.

3. Syomyo (Buddhist chant) performance: Enjoy the mixture of Jodo gagaku music and dance, Tendai chanting, and Shingong taiko drumming in the scent of our special incense. An English brochure will be offered.


(Daikoh Matsuyama, Taizoin, in "Interview with the Worldwide Japanese")

These English programs offer quite rare and unique experiences even for the Japanese audience. We will continue preparing more programs in the spirit of "omotenashi" for the international audience.

We are also considering expanding our locations outside Japan. After Japanese cuisine made it to the world heritage list in 2013, there has been increasing interest in Japanese cuisine, especially shojin (vegetarian) cuisine. More and more people seem to be interested in various aspects of Japanese culture such as Zen, the way of tea, ikebana flower arrangement, calligraphy, and noh, as well. We have people from a wide range of fields participating in Kohgen from Buddhist monks to successors of traditional arts and crafts to contemporary artists. We believe together we can offer a unique program to thoroughly experience the aesthetics and spirituality of Japanese culture, not by bits and pieces.

Kohgen is without doubt the very first hands-on experience event for Buddhism and Japanese culture in the nation. It might turn into one of the coolest events in the world soon!

It Will Be a Rough Road, But We Will Never Give Up!


We realize it won't be easy to really make it happen. There are financial issues to overcome, and there is also working with different religions and schools. It will be a challenge to find a way to cooperate with different temples and shrines.

However, as someone who works in the field of Buddhism, I feel a strong urge to save the true culture and spirituality of Japan, which is slowly getting lost in our modern life. Our precedents have faced the same challenge over hundreds and thousands of years and saved the core of our spirituality. It is time for our generation to return the favor and really start trying to keep what has been passed down to us, for ourselves and for the generations to come. We are here to do everything we can to achieve that goal; and we believe, with your help, we can reach even bigger goals.

We would really appreciate it if you could join us on our journey!



Why Crowdfunding?


This will be the fourth time we host Kohgen since its launch in 2011. We are very thankful for all those who have helped us continue running Kohgen annually. At the same time, it's true that we face harder and harder struggles financially each time.

Through COUNTDOWN, we hope to let more people know about our mission at Kohgen and ask for your support in growing the project bigger.

With your help, we will continue connecting the past and the future and delivering better experience to the world.

Rewards for the Supporters


Prayer paper from Ankokuden, Zojoji Temple


We will pray for your wish to come true at Ankokuden, Zojoji Temple, and will send you a prayer paper with your name and wish written on it. Pick one of the wishes from the list below:

Victory: We will pray for your winning luck to the Kuro Honzon (Black Image).
Household safety: We will pray for your family's health and safety.
Prosperity: We will pray for prosperity and thriving of your business.
Corporate success: We will pray for success of your corporate.
Passing exams: We will pray for the passing of an exam of any kind.
Academic success: We will pray for your academic success.
Protection: We will pray for protection from harm.
Road safety: We will pray for safe driving and protection from traffic accidents.
Health protection: We will pray for protection from any health hazard.
Cure and recovery: We will pray for healing of and recovery from injury and diseases.
Children's growth: We will pray for healthy and happy growth of children.
Health and safety: We will pray for your overall health and safety.
Travel safety: We will pray for safe and happy traveling.
Matchmaking: We will pray for finding a mate and having a fruitful marriage.
Goal achievement: We will pray for achievement of any goals and wishes.

Japanese-style stab notebook with Zen words and Buddhist sermons


This Japanese-style stab notebook comes with Zen words and little Buddhist sermons printed inside. You can use it as you please whether it is as a journal or to collect stamps at shrines. Your friends will be asking where you found this unique and lovely little notebook!

The notebooks will be handmade by the professional artisan of Aribun-do, a family-owned book-binding store in Gifu. Each one will be one and only in the world, using different materials and binding techniques. Wait until the delivery to find out which one you get!



For 30,000 JPY

Kohgen lucky book set of 2014


What a treat! You will receive a set of three books by the monks from the Kohgen team. All the copies will be autographed!

-3 autographed books ("Hotoke gohan," "Ki ni shinakereba raku ni naru," and "Ichinichi ippun seppou.")



For 50,000 JPY

Personal zazen workshop


Everything seems transient in the busy pace of our modern life. Our zazen workshop offers a time and space where you can stay in the moment and face your core. It will be a precious experience to have dialog with yourself.

We can travel to any location in Tokyo and the surrounding areas. For other locations, please contact us first.



For 100,000 JPY

Personal Buddhist-themed workshop of your choice at your desired location.



Pick a workshop among our popular selections including "dinner in the dark," "dying" workshop, and "gokuraku-bashi"(bridge to heaven) workshop. You can personally enjoy the workshop at one of our locations or at your desired location. We only travel to Tokyo and the surrounding areas only. For other locations, please contact us first.

If you have participated in Kohgen, it'll be a great opportunity to share your favorite workshop with your friends and family!



For 300,000 JPY

Personalized prayer ritual for your wishes



After speaking with you personally about your wishes, we will have a Buddhist prayer ritual at a temple in Tokyo.

Examples:
Household safety: We will pray for your family's health and safety.
Prosperity: We will pray for prosperity and thriving of your business.
Corporate success: We will pray for success of your corporate.
Passing exams: We will pray for the passing of an exam of any kind.
Academic success: We will pray for your academic success.
Protection: We will pray for protection from harm.
Road safety: We will pray for safe driving and protection from traffic accidents.
Health protection: We will pray for protection from any health hazard.
Cure and recovery: We will pray for healing of and recovery from injury and diseases.
Children's growth: We will pray for healthy and happy growth of children.
Health and safety: We will pray for your overall health and safety.
Travel safety: We will pray for safe and happy traveling.
Matchmaking: We will pray for finding a mate and having a fruitful marriage.
Goal achievement: We will pray for achievement of any goals and wishes.
(This reward only includes prayer rituals, not memorial services or funerals.)




For 500,000 JPY

How the Money Will Be Used

We will use the collected funds to continue running Kohgen. The following is the list of some essential expenses.

-Workshops, performances, and panels (transportation and accommodation for instructors and performers, materials for the sets, etc.)
-Audio and visual facilities, instruments, lighting, stage setting, etc.
-Promotion (brochure, fliers, etc.)
-Website development and management
-Shipping cost for the rewards