Minobu, Mount ［身延山］ ( Minobu-san): A mountain in what is today Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. Nichiren lived there during the later years of his life, from the fifth month of 1274 through the ninth month of 1282, just prior to his death. After his return from exile to Sado, Nichiren remonstrated for a third time with the rulers, represented by Hei no Saemon, deputy chief of the Office of Military and Police Affairs (the chief being the regent himself). When his advice was rejected once again, Nichiren went to live at Minobu. According to his work On Repaying Debts of Gratitude, he based this choice on an ancient custom, which he described as follows: “If a worthy man makes three attempts to warn the rulers of the nation and they still refuse to heed his advice, then he should retire to a mountain forest” (728).
Minobu at the time was under the jurisdiction of Hakiri Sanenaga, Nichiren’s follower and the steward of the area. Nichiren remained in Minobu and devoted himself to educating his disciples, directing propagation efforts, and writing doctrinal treatises. During Nichiren’s later years, Mount Minobu was the center of his teaching, but after his death, Nichiren’s successor, Nikkō, moved the center to the foot of Mount Fuji. Nikkō did this out of his concern that offenses committed by Hakiri had violated Nichiren’s teachings and made the location inappropriate as an enduring base for those teachings. Though Hakiri was converted by Nikkō, he had begun to follow Nikō, chief instructor of the priests, who had been lax in upholding Nichiren’s instructions and had permitted Hakiri to actively support other teachings and schools that Nichiren had deemed erroneous. See also Kuon-ji.