Thursday, February 14, 2013

Zojoji Temple

Right beside The Prince Hotel is the Zojoji Temple. From this website I learned that Zojoji was founded in 1393 as an orthodox and fundamental nembutsu seminary for Jodo shu in the Kanto (east Japan) region. Zojoji was relocated to the present site in 1598 after Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, entered present-day Tokyo to establish his provincial government. The main entrance to the temple, seen above, is the red-lacquered Sangedatsumon Gate which survived World War II bombings.  The other temple buildings destroyed in air raids were reconstructed in 1974.

This "shorodo" or belfry was cast in 1673. It contains a gong that is two and a half meters high.

Messages? Wishes? Prayers?

Craig and I intended on using the temple as a short cut to the Tokyo Tower on the other side. However, we stumbled upon rows and rows of eerie stone statues of babies with red crocheted beanies and colourful plastic pinwheels. These hundreds of "Jizo" monuments, we discovered, represent the unborn children of Japan, including stillborn, aborted or miscarried babies. Parents can choose a statue in the garden and decorate it with small clothing and toys to ensure that their child will be protected in the afterlife.

As I inspected each tiny lovingly-adorned figure, I felt the pain of the parents, and was reminded afresh of the tragic loss of my little nephew Elijah Rainbow Fisher.

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