Eiken Kobai was born in 1941, the first son of Seiyo Kobai, the 16th-generation resident minister of Unsai Temple in the city of Ochiai, Oita Prefecture, Japan.

He graduated from Ryukoku University’s Doctoral Program in Shinshu Studies in 1969 and from the Shugaku Institute, a postgraduate school maintained by the Hompa Hongwanji, in 1972.

He received a grant to study at Kyoto University from 1971 to 1973.

After a period as research associate at the Dendo Institute (now Jodo Shinshu Studies and Research Center), he is presently Professor of Shinshu Studies at Soai University in the city of Osaka.

Professor Kobai is an ordained minister in the Hompa Hongwanji and a shikyo within that organization’s scholarly ranking system, the highest rank that can be earned.