Donggao Xinyue

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  • Born: 1639
  • Died: 1695
  • Chinese/Japanese: 東皋心越 (Dōnggāo Xīnyuè / Tôkô Shin'etsu)

Donggao Xinyue was a Chinese Sôtô Zen (C: Cáodòng Chán) Buddhist monk, originally from Hangzhou, who came to reside at a temple in Mito han at the invitation of Tokugawa Mitsukuni, lord of Mito. He is also known for his paintings, calligraphy, and as a talented player of the qin.

Donggao was based for many years at a temple near West Lake in Hangzhou. He was invited to Japan in 1676 by the Ôbaku Zen monk Chengyi Daoliang, and later developed a relationship with Tokugawa Mitsukuni. Through Donggao, Mitsukuni maintained contacts with a number of Ming exiles resident in Japan, even after the death of Zhu Shunsui in 1682.


  • Rebeckah Clements, "Speaking in Tongues? Daimyo, Zen Monks, and Spoken Chinese in Japan, 1661–1711," The Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 76, No. 3 (August) 2017: 616.