Roku Jizō hikari kagayaku natsu kodachi
Six Jizō Statues
brighten in the light ―
Jizō son tachi te hohoemu natsu kodachi
stand smiling ―
Jizō son futatabi deau natsu kodachi
have a reunion ―
1012 statues stand along a trail up a hill side in Oriwatari.
We visited there on the eve of the festival, on July 23, 2011, taking some photos.
When were One Thousand Jizō built there?
Why were One Thousand Jizō built there?
Members of Akita prefecture （秋田県） ajet community took up the history of One Thousand Jizō in their homepage, in which they tell us about it through English translation of the article taken from the Akita Sakigake newspaper（秋田魁新聞）; 18th May 2009 as follows:.
Mourn those who died in battle, and in the line of duty.
“For a world without war”, “As a memorial for the victims of a cave-in.” In Iwayafumoto of Yurihonjo along the Oriwataritougei walkway, the 16cm tall 1012 Jizō are lined up in order. The Jizō are privately owned memorial Buddhas. On July 24th contributors from inside and outside the prefecture attend the annual Jizō festival that is held, and every year many worshippers come to visit.
With the “Oriwatari Longevity Jizō” (Oriwatari Enmei Jizō) donated two hundred years ago by the founder of Choukoku temple in the city of Akata, Koreyama Zenji, as the principle object of worship (本尊), the Thousand Jizō line the surrounding 4 kilometers (of the hill) in rows.
Taking over the ambition of a monk who saw the sacred construction sight in a dream, volunteers from the town solicited donations of “One person, one Buddha,” and from 1989 it took them two years to build (the temple). According to representative of the Oriwatari Thousand Jizo support team, Mr. Takahashi Kiichiro (82), during its initial foundation there were a thousand and one statues. Damaged Jizō were replaced given the opportunity, and now there are 2012 statues.
Beneath the two statues at the top of the mountain, damaged roofing tile and other things from when the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima are buried. Mr. Takahashi, who had participated in survey research on special weapons fighter planes at the Naval/Air Force Technical Workshop (Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokosuka City) during World War II, stated “Young people of the same generation as myself got into special attack planes and one after another gave up their lives. This is also to atone for that.” A stone monument was built between (the two statues), and marked with a symbol of peace.
Directly beneath Oriwataritougei, there is also a memorial Buddha marking the location of the Oriwatari Tunnel (Uetsu line) where workers were killed during its construction. According to the Ouchi town records book “Oriwataritougei”, many workers were killed in a cave-in during the tunnel’s construction, which began in 1942 . Before anyone knew it, the workers’ breath was cut short in the darkness, and the town’s women whose hearts suffered donated (the Buddha). Embedded (in the ground) beneath each Jizō is a pedestal, each displaying a different kanji character. The kanji is taken from collections of old Chinese poems such as “Senjimon” (Senjimon is a series of long poems that were written to teach children Chinese characters. The poems contain 1000 different characters). They have become a staple of visits to the temple.
Here is an original Japanese article.
Article courtesy; as per original copyright:
Lastly, let me post the fourth part of RO KU Magazine – Japan, between suffering and hope dedicated to the disaster from Fukushima.
Courtesy of Mr. Corneliu Traian Atanasiu, editor of ROMANIAN KUKAI, here is a pdf file of the magazine.
printre ruine -
într-o stampă niponă
ning flori de cireş
among ruins -
in a Japanese stamp
zi de doliu –
copiii trimit pe apă
bărci de hârtie
day of mourning –
the children put off water
veşti din Akita –
drumurile lui Bashō
news from Akita –
negură deasă -
în năvoadele rupte
PET-uri şi-un bocanc
dense fog -
the torn nets
a PET-and a brogue
doar zborul albatroşilor
only the albatrosses’ flight
case-n fărâme -
crushed houses –
the weight of spring silence
printre ruine -
among ruins -
the minute hand
leans the nest
după explozie -
acelaşi soare încălzind
o altă lume
after explosion -
the same sun warming
The next posting ‘3.11 Haiku from the Romanian Haiku Group (5)’ appears on September 3.
― Hidenori Hiruta (member of HIA)