Compiled by Kakunyo. Introduction, translation and notes by Zuio H. Inagaki.
Originally this work was a scroll containing the biography of Shinran (1173-1262). It was composed by Kakunyo (1270-1351), the third chief abbot of Honganji, along with illustrations painted by Joga Hogen in 1295. Kakunyo was motivated to produce it in commemoration of the 33rd memorial year of the founder's death which occurred in 1294.
Earlier, the biographical portion and the illustrations were compiled separately. The former is called Godensho and the illustrations, called Goeden, were reproduced as hanging scrolls. Apart from the standard set of four hanging scrolls, two sets of three hanging scrolls and a single scroll are known to exist.
After the 15th century, Goeden became widespread, exerting a great influence on the spiritual life of Shin Buddhists. This pervasive influence is attributed to Rennyo (1415-1499) who established the rule of granting duplicates of the Goeden in four hanging scrolls to Shin temples.
An Illustrated Biography of Shinran, Honganji Shonin contains the original Japanese text of the Godensho.