The Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism originated in China with the 9th century Ch'an master Lin-chi I-hsuan (Linji Yixuan, called Rinzai Gigen in Japan). In the 11th century Rinzai split into two schools, called in Japanese Rinzai-yogi and Rinzai-oryo.
Myoan Eisai brought Rinzai-oryo to Japan late in the 12th century. This was the first school of Zen in Japan. Eisai's school did not survive, however. It was Rinzai-yogi, which reached Japan in the 13th century, that flourished and survives to this day.
Rinzai Zen is distinguished by its emphasis on the kensho experience and the use of koan study in zazen. The other major school of Japanese Zen, Soto, emphasizes more gradual "silent illumination" and the practice of shikantaza.