Zen Rebel Ikkyu
Ikkyu (Ikkyu Sojun, 1394–1481)
Ikkyu was a Zen monk of Muromachi Japan. He was a dramatic, enigmatic figure,
who was not afraid to criticize the social and religious institutions of his day.
He was an outstanding calligrapher and poet. While attacking the hypocrisy of the
monastic orders, he frequented brothels and bars. Ikkyu's wit, wisdom, artistry,
and forthright attitude caught the imagination of the Japanese people, and he has
become a folk hero. Many myths about him have circulated. Today, there is even a
Japanese children's cartoon about Ikkyu's adventures. Although the myths about Ikkyu
have led to a somewhat inaccurate public impression of him, there is also quite a
lot of reliable historical evidence about his life. More is known about Ikkyu's life
than about the life of any other monk of medieval Japan.