1279-1368 - Yuan Dynasty

A Japanese monk by the name of Da Zhi traveled to the Shaolin Temple to learn about Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism in 1312 AD. For 13 years, he learned the practice of Shaolin martial arts as well during his stay. The idea of a Shaolin temple in Japan was introduced to the country when Da Zhi returned in 1324 AD.

Shao Yuan, another Japanese monk, traveled to Shaolin 11 years after Da Zhi returned. He was known to have mastered calligraphy, painting, Ch'an, and Shaolin martial arts. After his return to Japan in 1347 AD, Shao Yuan was recognized as a "Country Spirit" by his people.