Astonishing book, and very well written and translated into English. Ryotaro Shiba does seem to take a bit of literary license as he explores what Kobo Daishi must have been thinking, or how he was perceived, or what he realized or felt during the span of his life. Nevertheless, such interpretation does not ring false, or with some illegitimate motive. For this reader, it adds quite a bit to the narrative and understanding of how a young boy from Zentsuji in Kagawa prefecture could rise up in the world and have such a profound impact on generations of people over centuries than anyone could have imagined.
The book is a little hard to get into and to get reading, but once you find yourself in the narrative, fell-fixed in place to learn and see more of the world of Kukai, you will be transported away. I was deeply impressed with this book and recommend it to anyone who is interested to learn more about Kukai, the master, the saint, the great teacher for millions of Japanese people.