A Profile of Tairyu Furukawa's Life
|1920||Born in Saga Prefecture (Japan).|
|1940||Sent as a soldier in the Japanese Imperial Army to China, where he was wounded.|
|1944||Graduated from Senshu Institute of the Shingon Sect monastery on Mt.Koya (Wakayama Prefecture).|
|1945||Became head priest of a Buddhist temple in Saga Prefecture affiliated with the Shingon Sect.|
|1952||Became an editor of the religious review "Cosmos".Appointed chaplain
to the Fukuoka prison and was placed in charge of prisoners condemned to
|1961||Began a campaign to obtain a retrial for two innocent prisoners condemned
(the first such campaign by a prison chaplain in Japan).
|1964||Received an award from the Police National Headquarters in Tokyo for collaborating
in the arrest of Akira Nishiguchi, a wanted-suspect who had been fleeing
across the country and who was subsequently found guilty of committing
|1969||Received a relic, a lock of Dr. Albert Schweitzer's hair from the late
Tadashi Mukai, head of the Dr. Schweitzer Association of Kobe, as a sign
of acknowledgement and appreciation for the campaign undertaken to assist
the two innocent prisoners.
|1973||Founded a new religious institution called Seimeizan (i.e. Mountain of
Life) Schweitzer Temple and became its first head priest.
|1975||After fifteen years of campaigning, he succeeded in obtaining anmnesty
for Mr. Ishii, one of the two condemned prisoners. Mr. Ishii received an
indefinite commutation of his sentence, while Mr. Nishi, the other innocent
prisoner, was suddenly and secretly executed.
|1981||Began lecturing on Thanatology at the University of Industrial Medicine
|1984||Built a monument in Arao (Kumamoto Prefecture) in memory of the hundreds
of Chinese who died at the forced labor camps at the coal mines in the
Arao region during the Second World War.
Undertook the first pilgrimage of reconciliation and peace to China, commemorating the victims of the Nanjing Massacre perpetrated by the Japanese Imperial Army. Yearly pilgrimages have been conducted since then.
|1986||Established with Fr. Franco Sottocornola, an Xaverian Missionary Father
in Japan, the Center for Interreligious Dialogue, the first instance in
Japan of a Buddhist and Christian activity united in one single religious
|1989||Gave lectures on Buddhism and interreligious dialogue at churches and universities
during a 40-day stay in Italy and England.
Received his first audience with His Holiness Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
Attended the Third International Conference of Religious Leaders in Warsaw, Poland. From that time on Rev. Furukawa continuously attended these conferences held in various countries.
Mr. Ishii, one of the two innocent prisoners, who was released on parole after forty-two years and seven months' imprisonment, came to live with the Furukawa family at the Schweitzer Temple.
|1994||Held an exhibition of his calligraphic works in five cities in Italy.
Met Mother Teresa in Warsaw, Poland.
|1995||Received honorary membership in the Red Cross Society of China.
|1998||While in Bucharest, Romania, he met Sr. Helen Prejean, the author of Dead
Man Walking and a leader in the abolition of capital punishment.
|2000||While engaged in preparations for the posthumous retrial of Mr. Nishi,
his health suddenly declined. After having lived eighty years, his life
came to a close and he entered nirvana.