Lost souls

A couple walks by “jizo” stone statues at Zojoji temple in Tokyo. Jizo, which is one of the most beloved figures of Japanese Buddhism, are believed to protect the souls of deceased children.

  • 5

    ebisen

    One of the saddest places in Tokyo. Many people visit there not knowing what these represent. I once saw a young couple, both crying slowly...

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    ebisen: They are child-like gods, more or less, who protect the souls of children from demons who would have them (that's in a nutshell). However, to the berieved parents they become kind of proxies for the kids themselves. The bibs are supposed to draw the jizo to the baby in question via the scent of the mother's milk, but people also leave offerings, etc.

    I agree it's sad, and aside from the two people in the background (which can't be helped), it's a great picture. I highly recommend you go see Adachi no Nenbutsu no Tera during the obon candle lighting ceremony. HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of Jizo around the place, some very, very old.

  • -2

    AKBfan

    Who are the lost souls. The couple or the statues protecting children?

  • -10

    Ivan Coughanoffalot

    I suppose this is a natural result of a society which views abortion as a form of contraception.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    AKBfan: "Who are the lost souls. The couple or the statues protecting children?"

    The lost souls are of course the children that have died and the Jizo protect. But people will put trinkets or clothing that belonged to their children on or around the Jizo and treat that particular Jizo as a direct contduit to the lost soul, so in a way, yeah, they do represent lost souls (along the lines of what eibisen meant). Imagine you go to a military graveyard and see rows upon rows upon rows of simple white crosses -- you could say they (as a whole) represent a lot of war dead. I'm not comparing the two, just giving you an allusion to go by.

  • 7

    smithinjapan

    Ivan: "I suppose this is a natural result of a society which views abortion as a form of contraception."

    This isn't about abortion, though I'm sure some women who have done so regret their decision. And besides, there are a LOT of countries you could mock for doing what you claim. This kind of place is much more for women who have miscarried or lost the child in infancy, so don't undermine it with personal opinion.

  • -2

    megosaa

    most lost souls are found in a pub. these are god's little angels.

  • -1

    Ah_so

    suppose this is a natural result of a society which views abortion as a form of contraception.

    I wondered how many posts I would have to have to scroll through to find the first absurdly cyncical post.

    Obviously jizo predate abortion, so their existence says nothing about abortion's role in Japan.. Secondly, someone who considers the need for a jizo does not consider it at a form of contraception - very few people make a shrine to a used prophylactic.

    These shrines are to dead children and miscarried foetuses.

  • -7

    realist

    One of many sad olaces like this in Japan. These Jizo idols represent aborted babies. Sadly, abortion is one of the main forms of contraception in Japan.

  • -1

    globalwatcher

    This photo says it all about innocent human sufferings that will never end.

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