Kensho Sohan, better known by his Zen-master name of Shoun, was born in Kaga. Although he was the first son of a Shinto priest, he became a Zen monk at age twelve. Sohan spent much of his life associated with the temple Empuku-ji, and also served three terms as abbot of Daitoku-ji, an important and influential position. Roly-poly and unpretentious, Shoun was nicknamed "Hotei" because of his friendly, easygoing manner and his ability to interact with all kinds of people. Shoun was an excellent and creative Zen artist who produced many fine pieces of both calligraphy and painting. Details of Shoun's life and art can be found in The Art of Twentieth-Century Zen (Shambhala, 2000).