Fr. Kakichi Kadowaki SJ

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Fr. Kakichi Kadowaki is a Japanese citizen and a member of the Japan Province of the Society of Jesus. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1950, and was ordained a priest in 1960. He was for many years a professor in the department of Philosophy at Sophia University, and for a time he was director of the Institute of Oriental Religions. Among his well known publications is Zen and the Bible a book dealing with the relationship between Zen Buddhism and Christianity. He is a well known Zen instructor and is noted for the Zen sessions that he regularly conducts, usually at his center located at the city of Karuizawa in Japan.
He may be contacted at the following postal address: SJ House, 7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8571, Japan
His telephone number is 03-3238-5111
His email address is 


International Zen-Ignatian training program for selected Catholic Spiritual Leaders to deepen Christian Spirituality (especially the Spiritual Exercises) during the period 2008-2009

    For thirty years as a Jesuit priest I have been making efforts to combine Zen Style meditation harmoniously with Ignatian Spirituality. I believe that I have been able to accomplish this to a certain extent, and so I decided to offer this program to more people.

    In 2001 I directed the first stage of the program for 3 priests and one sister, who have come to understand and experience the fact that Zen meditation and training could greatly help them to deepen their Christian prayer. In 2002 three people among them participated the second stage of the program, and in 2003 the third and final stage of program has been completed. As Fr. Diosinio Ramos, O.Carm. has completed the whole program, he has been recognized as a Zen-teacher. (The whole of this former program has been described below).
    In 2004 I will start a new program that focuses on St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. During my long period of Zen training I have always kept in mind the fact of creating a synthesis of Zen and Ignatian Spirituality. So the new program is what I have desired for long time, and so to say, the fulfillment of my dream inspired by Lord Jesus Christ.
    During the period 2006-7 I directed a two-years international course on this Zen-Ignatian training program for two Jesuit priests and two sisters with great success, as you can see below in the report of one of the participants.
    Now I would like to invite you all to the first stage of this program, which will take place in Kita-Karuizawa (in the Gunma prefecture of Japan) from the end of July to the end of August 2008.
    The aim of the first stage of this program is an “initiation” to deepen our Christian prayer through Zen breathing methods, founded in Genesis 2-7, the creation of man through breath [ruah, Spirit] of life of God (the Holy Spirit), for through acquiring the knack of Tanden-koku (breathing with the guts) we will experience a close relationship between our breathing and the Holy Spirit, so that we could get an insight into a realization in us of the ‘Principle and Foundation’ (Ex. 23) with spiritual eye (a kind of Christian Satori).
    Then over this Principle and Foundation we shalltry to build up a firm Ignatian Spiritual “Exisitenz” by using as Christian Koan (A Koan is a Zen term, a puzzling question that Master gives his disciple to lead him on to enlightenment), each exercise of the Spiritual Exercises, especially the five fundamental Exercises, namely the call of Christ the King, the Two Standards, the Three Classes of People, the Tree Modes of Humility, and the Contemplation to attain Love. During this whole course of Program we always pay special attention to “Rules for the discernment of spirits, and refer both to St. Ignatius’ Autobiography and other relevant matters.


a) The first year, 2008
1)    July, 27th arrival in Tokyo, and July 28th we move to Kitakaruizawa by bus:
2)    July 29th to August 5th, 2008: Initiation period. Here we intensively learn the method of breathing
3)    August 9th to August 16th: Setshin (Zen-Christian retreat). Its target is the Body- Reading of Genesis II (the creation of a man); (the first week, and daily Particular Examination of conscience).
4)    August1 (7-20): Daily 5 hours Zen practice with an hour alternately of Teishou (Spiritual lecture by the Master) or mutual study of the Spiritual Exercises.
5)    August (20-27) Sesshin: Its Target is the realization (spiritual awakening) of dustness and the Breath of Life (Gen. II,7)

Kitakaruizawa Mahoroba, 377-1412 Gunmaken, Azumagun, Naganoharamachi Kita-karuizawa 2032
Tel: 03-3238-5111 Fax: 03-3238-5056; E-mail:, located northeast from Mt. Asama, altitude 1050m. Climate is dry all the year round, pleasant and healthy, cool in summer.

15 rooms: 5 western style rooms, 9 Japanese rooms (including a Japanese tea room, a Zen meditation room), three living rooms, four kitchens with four refrigerators, three bathrooms, a wide veranda (17.6m), a big meeting room (with a plasma TV and a theater surrounding system). Nearby there is a hot spring facility, which has many kinds of hot springs, two kinds of saunas, and a 25m pool. We can use it everyday with a membership card. It is an ideal setting for prayer and Zen-practice.
The weather is cool and dry in August, chilly in the end of September, and the place is surrounded by forest and river.

Outline of the whole course of the former program
1    Experience of the creation of man through the breathing method of Zen. Text: Gen. 2: 7; Gen.1
2    Experience of the Kenosis of Christ through the realization of “Mu” (無). Text: Phil. 2:1–10, Life of Christ in Gospels
3    Experience of the Holy Spirit, of the Father God, and of our sonship through crying “Abba, Father!” instead of reciting Mu in Zen practices. Text: Rom.8: 14-18; Gal. 4: 4-7
Common language: English
Quality of Applicants:
1) Persons who eagerly want to deepen the Christian Spirituality. 
2) Persons who earnestly wish to respond to Christ’ call to join Him in saving the whole of human kind “with great spirit (grand animo) and generosity (liberalidad)” (Ex. 5).
3) Persons who strongly desire to become able to sit in the half lotus-position.
5) Persons who can participate in both 2006 and 2007.

20 US dollars per day, plus travel expense from Tokyo to Kita-karuizawa, from Kitakaru (about 120 dollars for each year).
N.B. If we do not get at least two or three participants, the program will be cancelled.
Director; Fr. Kadowaki Kakichi S.J. ( Zen Master)

Short Biography: 
Fr. Kadowaki is author of “Zen and the Bible” (Orbis) and many books that were published by Iwanami Publishers (the most academically appreciated publisher in Japan). He graduated Tokyo University (BT) and the graduate school of Gregorian University (Rome), and holds a Ph.D. He is a Jesuit priest, Professor emeritus of Sophia University in Tokyo and a Zen Master, recognized by the Zen Master Oomori Sogen, the former President of Hanazono University (Rinzai sect) in Kyoto. He was an Instructor of the international Tertian-ship in 1982, held in Japan.
    He was brought up within a Zen Buddhist background and was later baptized a Christian by Fr. Doumolin, S.J. a great scholar of Buddhism. Entering the Jesuit Order, he was trained by Fr, Pedro Arrupe SJ, the late Superior General of the Jesuits. As he deepened his understanding of both Zen and Christian Spirituality through more than ten years of study and practice of the above-mentioned Zen training and at the same time also the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, he become increasingly aware of the similarities between the Zen and Ignatian Spiritualities, and hence he could write his book “Zen and the Bible” and could also translate the Spanish Spiritual Exercises into Japanese and get it published by Iwanami. He is the author of many academical books.     He is also a playwright and creator of two Christian No plays that were presented several times at the national No-theater and at St. Ignatius Church in Tokyo, also at the Argentina Theater and at the St. Ignatius Church in Rome, and at the royal Church in Brussels. A portion of the No play “Baptima Christ” was presented in the presence of the Holy Father.

Reflection after Ignatian-Zen training (2007, July 28 – August 28)
    I am extremely grateful first, to God for this grace of Ignatian-Zen training. My gratitude goes also to Fr. Kadowaki for his help, assistance and guidance. This was extraordinary experience for many reasons. Through the practice of Ignatian-Zen way of prayer I became more aware of the Glory of God present in the whole reality, that is more aware of wonders that God is doing in His creation. Besides, I experienced much more the unity of body and spirit as a harmonious existence that is animated by the Spirit of the Lord who is the Breath of Life. It helped me to transcend more effectively the western harmful division on spirit and body. Thus, I realized that spiritual world expresses itself through the whole human being and that this spiritual realization comes through body (hara) more than through mind. This new way of “perception” is due to the deeper understanding (conocimiento) of Ignatian Spirituality seen from the perspective of Zen intuitions and daily practice: walking meditation, way of receiving food, physical work, spiritual talk, and last but not least, dokusan, that is a personal meeting with Zen master as the spiritual director). Besides, the Ignatian Spirituality, the spirit of the Gospel (passion of Christ) as well as the spirituality of St. Paul (especially his conversion and his experience of the Cross) were rediscovered, however not at the intellectual level, but rather through the daily practice of the body-reading activity. As the result, the experience of Christ’s Kenosis, which was the central topic of this training, is experienced in a quite genuine way and is bringing me to a certain kind of spiritual purification thorough the body. Realizing my identification with Christ in Kenosis is the turning point of this experience. It changed my way of looking at myself, realizing my illusions and weaknesses, but also gave me a new perspective on looking at the whole reality. I became more aware of the dynamism of faith which starts from the identification with Christ who is poor and crucified. The death of Christ widens my horizon of understanding of God's salvific vision for humankind. The Christ's will of salvation of the whole humankind, of the entire universe is the power that helps me to live deeper His voluntas salvifica, and at the same time to dedicate myself to fight and serve with Christ on the mission He is entrusting to us.
A Polish Jesuit