In 578 AD, a Korean immigrant named Shigemitsu Kongo made his way to Japan at the invitation of the royal family.
Buddhism was on the rise in Japan at the time; though it had only been introduced a few decades prior, the Empress consort had been actively encouraging the adoption of Buddhism across Japan.
But since the Japanese had no experience building Buddhist temples, they looked overseas for help.
That’s where Kongo came in.
Shigemitsu Kongo was a renowned temple builder, and the royal family in Japan commissioned him to build the Shitenno-ji temple, which still stands today in Osaka.
Kongo saw an incredible opportunity. Buddhism was catching on fast, and he knew he could be kept busy for decades building temples.
It turned out to be centuries. Over 14 centuries, in fact.
Shigemitsu Kongo formed his construction company Kongo Gumi in 578 AD, and it lasted 1,428 years.
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