Nichidatsu Fujii was a Showa period Buddhist priest, leader of the postwar peace movement, and founder of the type of Buddhism known as Nihonzan Myoho-ji.
Nichidatsu Fujii was born on 6 August 1885 in Kumamoto Prefecture and entered the priesthood.
He graduated from Nichiren Daigaku (present-day Rissho University).
He carried out a fast and prayer service in front of the Imperial Palace, calling for a realization of Nichiren’s ideal of Rissho ankoku, national government based upon the true teachings of the Lotus Sutra. The following year he went to Manchuria, where he traveled from place to place beating on the kind of hand drum called uchiwadaiko, preaching Buddhism, and establishing temples known as Nihonzan Myoho-ji. He later carried on similar activities in Japan, China, India, and Burma. In India he became friendly with Gandhi.
In marked departure from the spirit of Gandhi’s teachings, however, he cooperated willingly with the militaristic elements in Japan and the advocates of Japanese expansion abroad. With the defeat of Japan in 1945, he decided that his past actions had been in error, and became an exponent of nonresistance and unarmed pacifism.
He was active in the movement to ban the atomic and hydrogen bombs and in demonstrations against the United States military base at Sunagawa. Though he does not have a numerous following in Japan, his group represents the largest Buddhist sect in India.