The Story of Nun Zenshin-ni

Overcoming hardship

Three young nuns get caught up in the conflict between the Soga and Mononobe clans. They persevere, never losing their faith.

Déjà-vu as Umako and Moriya continue the clan conflict

Umako and Moriya carried on the feud of their fathers, Soga no Iname and Mononobe no Okoshi. Yet despite Moriya’s persecution of the young nuns, the traditional gods were apparently not assuaged and the plague did not abate. Both Emperor Bidatsu and Moriya became infected. A rumor spread that they were being punished for having burned the Buddhist statue. With the emperor’s permission, Umako began privately following the doctrine of Buddhism. The three nuns were released and allowed to be near Umako, who showed them his profoundest respect. Umako built a new Buddhist sanctum in which he enshrined a Buddhist statue. However, the conflict between the Soga and Mononobe clans intensified as part of a fierce struggle for political power.

The final battle: victory for Umako, defeat for Mononobe

Soon after the three nuns were returned to Umako’s estate, Emperor Bidatsu passed away. He was succeeded by Emperor Yomei, who died of illness just two years into his reign. Emperor Yomei was fascinated with Buddhism and on his deathbed expressed his desire to become a Buddhist. While Moriya opposed the emperor’s wishes, Umako supported them and announced his intention to follow through on the dying emperor’s edict. Faced by a group of court officials who backed Umako’s proposal, Moriya conceded. Following Emperor Yomei’s death, Umako and Moriya clashed again over the issue of imperial succession. Tension between the two was exacerbated by Umako’s assassination of Prince Anahobe, who had been Moriya’s preferred choice. With other princes and clan heads taking his side, Umako and his forces attacked Moriya. When Moriya died in the attack, it marked the destruction of the Mononobe clan.

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