January 15, 2007

Bondage Bodhisattva

In the Kutsushika ward of Tokyo, there lies an old temple by the name of Nanzouin. It has a Jizou, which are the bodhisattvas that look after children in the afterlife. If you live in Japan, you have probably seen many of them (they are the statues with red bibs). But the Jizou at this particular temple is a little different. He spends the year wrapped in hemp, and only gets unwrapped for the new year each January, only to be put right back into those ropes soon after. And if you miss it, you never know what he looks like. Thankfully, we have the internet to help us.

Now my Japanese ain't the best, so I get a little confused when I try to figure out why they do this to the poor guy. Edit:Turns out such a statue very indirectly helped catch a gang of thieves whilst bound, and now people make a wish by binding him some more. But anyways, Daily Portal Z has some pretty pictures (all the text is in Japanese, so hit "つぎへ >" at the bottom of each page in the article to navigate; if you can read Japanese, you will be amused by the witty text that DPZ always provides).