Wayside shrines - Japan

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Kim O'Hara
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Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:11 pm

My first real visit to Japan a few weeks ago was enjoyable and ... educational. (I can't say, here on DW that it was 'enlightening', can I? :tongue: )
The many small semi-official, semi-public, shrines surprised me. They were both Buddhist and Shinto and I will post pics of both here because they balanced each other in some way.
By far the most common Buddhist images were of Jizo Bosatsu, protector of all beings but especially of travelers, children and all beings trapped in hell (more at http://www.japanese-buddhism.com/jizo-bosatsu.html).

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This statue was erected beside a street in Takayama in 1898 and moved to a local historical park according to the plaque beside it in its new location.

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This group is on a slip of unused public space - the edge of a park - in Takayama. Groups like it are very common.

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A similar group in a corner of temple grounds in Nara.

:namaste:
Kim

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:24 pm

Takayama-carpark.jpg
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I don't know anything about this statue except that, again, it is on public land (between a carpark and the street, this time) and is far bigger than the others posted here - larger than life size.

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This small Shinto shrine tucked into a gap between buildings on a Kyoto side street looks like a purely personal effort on the part of the property owner. Shrines like this are quite common and reminded me very strongly of the 'spirit houses' you see in SE Asia, both in how and where they are set up and in their function as the residence of a local spirit, but I don't know just how close the parallels are.

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I looked down on this rooftop garden and shrine from my 12th-floor Osaka hotel room. It was on the roof of a typical building in the business district, so it was presumably set up by the business owner. I can't imagine anything remotely similar in Australia.

:namaste:
Kim
Last edited by Kim O'Hara on Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ayu
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Re: Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby Ayu » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:25 pm

What is the purpose of those aprons they are wearing? (In your first post).
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:28 pm

Ayu wrote:What is the purpose of those aprons they are wearing? (In your first post).

Like the flowers, they are a gesture of respect from the people who care for the shrine. I don't know much more than that and (to be honest) I'm hoping to learn more from members who know Japan well.

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Re: Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby AlexMcLeod » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:31 pm

They remind me of the orange cloth that the Thai drape over the Buddha statues at the temple. I think it's purely an offering of clothing to the being represented by the statue.
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Re: Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby Fortyeightvows » Fri Oct 21, 2016 5:51 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Ayu wrote:What is the purpose of those aprons they are wearing? (In your first post).

Like the flowers, they are a gesture of respect from the people who care for the shrine. I don't know much more than that and (to be honest) I'm hoping to learn more from members who know Japan well.


They are 'bibs', like one would put on a child. It comes from the fact that the bodhisattva looks after children who have passed away.

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Queequeg
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Re: Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby Queequeg » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:08 pm

Very cool!

Yes, these little shrines are very common. I don't know if you noticed, but inside many businesses, there will be little shrines tucked into a corner near the ceiling.

Often the rooftop shrines are replacing shrines that stood on that property before construction. There's at least a few skyscrapers in Tokyo with such shrines on the roof.

The bibs on the Jizo are offerings. Like 48vows mentioned, these are children's bibs. Jizo is very closely associated with the protection of children, and if you notice his face is often childlike. Some modern intepretations of jizo are even more so. Often in the winter time, you will see jizo with coats and hats. They're offerings. In some temples, the statues are dressed in "winter" clothes during elaborate cermonies.

When you see lots of jizo statues, often each statue is an offering on behalf of a child who died. In modern times, some temples have enormous collections of jizo statues offered by women who had abortions. It can be quite moving to see - especially when the statues are dressed in infant clothes.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:57 pm

:thanks:
Yes, we did see some big collections of Jizo.
Jizo statues were also common in cemeteries - far more common than any other bodhisattvas - and I might post some pics in another thread.

When you say ...
Yes, these little shrines are very common. I don't know if you noticed, but inside many businesses, there will be little shrines tucked into a corner near the ceiling.
Often the rooftop shrines are replacing shrines that stood on that property before construction. There's at least a few skyscrapers in Tokyo with such shrines on the roof.

... I guess you're meaning Shinto shrines in both cases, because I did see some really tiny ones in shops and on house doorways.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby Queequeg » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:48 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote::thanks:
Yes, we did see some big collections of Jizo.
Jizo statues were also common in cemeteries - far more common than any other bodhisattvas - and I might post some pics in another thread.

When you say ...
Yes, these little shrines are very common. I don't know if you noticed, but inside many businesses, there will be little shrines tucked into a corner near the ceiling.
Often the rooftop shrines are replacing shrines that stood on that property before construction. There's at least a few skyscrapers in Tokyo with such shrines on the roof.

... I guess you're meaning Shinto shrines in both cases, because I did see some really tiny ones in shops and on house doorways.

:namaste:
Kim


Yes. Sorry for the confusion. :smile:
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Re: Wayside shrines - Japan

Postby Fortyeightvows » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:01 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Jizo statues were also common in cemeteries - far more common than any other bodhisattvas - and I might post some pics in another thread.


This is becoming popular in america too, the big cemetery in the sgv has a few statues and at a cemetery in downtown san jose is this statue:
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In taiwan I have never really seen statues of jizo in cemetery. Usually in the ancestors hall in the temple is a statue, or if the shrine room is small on the left side wth the name tablets, but never really in the cemetery.


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