It’s no secret that Japan is a big fan of Steve Jobs, which goes some way to explaining why Apple’s late co-founder is being used as a (pretty tenuous) connection to help reinvigorate interest in the country’s Buddhist Zen tourism trade.
How? Because, as it turns out, the 13th century Eiheiji temple Japanese local authorities hope to drum up interest in happens to be the same place which trained Kobun Chino Otogawa, a.k.a. Jobs’ spiritual advisor and wedding officiator.
We warned you it was tenuous!
With visitor numbers for the site having fallen two-thirds from the late-1980s peak, Jobs’ name is being bandied about — with the temple described as the place where, “Steve Jobs once dreamed of becoming a Zen monk.” After all, who is more synonymous with turning around ailing businesses than Apple’s co-founder and former CEO?
Interestingly, the site is getting an additional high-tech spin to help it attract tourists. There are plans to develop a state-of-the-art $11 million hotel nearby, while a recent Eiheiji exhibition featured video from a drone operated by a monk.
Steve Jobs’ relationship with Kobun Chino — who emigrated from Japan to the U.S. in the early 1970s — began in earnest after Jobs’ exile from Apple in 1985. It is recounted in a 2012 graphic novel entitled The Zen of Steve Jobs. In Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of Steve, Jobs’ one-time friend Daniel Kottke said that, “Steve [was] very much Zen. It was a deep influence. You see it in his whole approach of stark, minimalist aesthetics [and] intense focus.”
Given that Jobs was known to advise young startup CEOs to make spiritual pilgrimages to the temples which had inspired him, maybe wannabe Steve Jobs-types should book their tickets to Japan now!
Source: Daily Times