Kobo Daishi (posthumous name of Kukai) was born in 774 in the province of Sanuki (Kagawa Pref.) in Shikoku Island. Although Kukai entered a university at the age of 18, he became keenly interested in Buddhism, so he decided to enter the Buddhist priesthood. When Kukai was 19, he was officially ordained to priesthood by Gonzo Daitoku, a priest of Daianji Temple. Kukai took tutorials with Gonzo on Kokuzo Gumonjiho (A Secret Doctrine Method). He practiced asceticism at such places as Mt. Ooryu-Ga-Dake and Cape Muroto, both in Shikoku Island. In 804 he visited China as a member of an official envoy to the Tang Dynasty, where he studied the Esoteric Buddhism. After returning to Japan, Kukai founded in 816 a temple named Kongobuji in Mt. Koya as the headquarters of the Shingon school. Then he was given Toji Temple in Kyoto by Emperor Saga in 823, and actively devoted to spread the teachings of Mikkyo (Esoteric Buddhism) by making use of these two temples. In 829 he was appointed to Betto (Chief Priest) of Daianji. In this portrait he holds a Gokosho (Five prong vajra) in the right hand and beads in the left hand. His shoes and a Johei (Jug for drinking water) are put aside of the chair. This portrait was depicted in a style created by Imperial Prince Shinnyo who was a disciple of Kukai.