Konichiwa and welcome to the Temple!
I am Lord Matsuyama Mokurai (Award of Arms, Order of the Silver Crescent). Or at least, that is who I am in the Society for Creative Anachronism. I have been a member of the SCA and a resident of the East Kingdom for somewhere around fifteen years. I was not always an active member and drifted about for a long time. I have been a Norseman, an Elizabethan privateer, and a few other personae.
All this however, is a long and murky past to me. A few years ago, I met a man from the Midrealm by the name of Kuji Kaoni Musashi. Upon meeting him and becoming his friend, a spirit began to awake in me which had slumbered for many years - a deep interest and affection for the culture and history of Japan. It took a year for me to fully realize this. The next year at Pennsic War, I bought my first kimono and a small book about the samurai. I haven't looked back since. In fact, developing this persona has led me to new things which have allowed me to grow both within the SCA and in my life in general - Buddhism, gardening, bonsai, martial arts, and poetry to name just a few.
Now, I do not intend for this to be a diatribe about the place of Japanese personae in the Society. I find the debate somewhat pointless since those who wish to explore this culture will do it regardless of the opinions about them. But this does bring me to the purpose of the temple. This site is intended to be a place of learning for those seeking what I am also seeking. If you have an interest in developing a Japanese persona, exploring Japanese culture (with an emphasis on Buddhism), or the SCA, this small place is dedicated to you.
My Persona Story (as it stands for now...)
Matsuyama Mokurai is a Zen Buddhist monk wandering late 16th century Japan. Mokurai-bozu ("Brother Mokurai") was born to a samurai family. His name before taking the tonsure was Matsuyama Korenaga. He was the second son of Matsuyama Koretori, a retainer of the Hojo clan. The Matsuyama family had served the Hojo lords for many years. Owing to political necessity, Korenaga's father chose the son of a concubine as his heir. This freed Korenaga to study both martial and peaceable arts. As a boy, he was tutored by a zen monk - a fact that would have a lasting influence upon his life. Korenaga entered the monastery at the age of 23 and became ordained. He has led a semi-monastic lifestyle ever since. In times of war, Mokurai sheds his priestly robes and takes up his war club. More often, he acts behind the scenes to assist his half-brother, the official head of the Matsuyama clan. Writing in the confines of his monastery apartment, Mokurai has, more than once, wielded his brush in a skillful way; lest his brother wield a sword in a less-than-skillful way. Thankfully, recent times have been peaceful for the clan especially since the rise of the Taiko, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the Matsuyama clan's shifting of allegiance to his banner. Many a brush stroke was required for that to occur and, it is rumored, not a few knife strokes on moonless nights. However, Mokurai knows little of such sordid matters. Mokurai is also a traveler, as any good student of the dharma should be. While he was trained in a Soto Zen monastery (Matsuyamaji - the very place from which his family's name is derived), Mokurai has studied with Rinzai and Jodo masters and one or two practitioners of esoteric rites. He has visited many of the holy sites of Nihon as well as a few cities such as Nagasaki where the nanbanjin come from across the sea to trade. Currently, he has paused his travels to study tea in Kyoto; the capital. He has been granted temporary housing at Tenryuji temple. Kyoto offers an excellent vantage point from which to observe the workings of the world.