Inaba Shinden’s family have been farmers in rural Aichi Province for generations. But in 1916 they were sent to Taiwan as colonists, Shinden was ten years old then. While the family took over farming land in the east, the boy was sent to a recently established Zen Temple in Taipei. Abbot Nagatani Jien took care of the novice, and when Jien died from the Spanish Flu in 1918 his successor Yamazaki Taiko became Shinden’s teacher – and later his friend. After graduation in 1921 they both – if not together – returned to Japan where Taiko followed his monastic career and Shinden his studies before also taking monastic duties.
Yamazaki Taiko was Shinden’s early teacher, life-long friend, but also the one who opened Shinden’s eyes for the art of calligraphy. This was a turning point in Shinden’s life. Not less important was the second one, Seki Seisetsu, the abbot of Tenryuji. He opened Shinden’s heart for the art of painting as a true, deep, and unhindered expression of his Zen mind like this Enso painting with the inscription “Chaos has no seams”.