Monday, December 03, 2007


Hello Kitty is now a Shinto deity.

Spotted these Hello Kitty general-purpose omamori at Tarobo (one of Japan's top 10 most beautiful shrines, especially on a day like yesterday; will post of it anon) and they were selling like treacle-covered hotcakes for about twice the price of omamori bearing the conventional blessings of the standard old gods of no brand name, who never made it in show biz or hung around Cameron Diaz...

As I took some pictures in light of my disbelief, one of the shrine clerks said Look! The foreigner is taking pictures of the Hello Kitty omamori! (No one takes pictures of such everyday items as omamori.) Another clerk responded Of course! Because Hello Kitty is so cute! Little did they know my true reason or my opinion of Hello Kitty, the embodiment of cuteness as vapor in a desert. To say nothing of sacrosanctity.

Is nothing sacred? I mean is everything sacred? Sure, you could say, after a few hits of whatever, that everything is sacred, but... EVERYTHING? Then nothing is. The older gods, with millennia of experience under their obi, must be very upset. Look for problems ahead in Japan-- big problems, of oddly indefinite origin, emanating - sort of - from a sacred mountain... If anything is sacred...


Tabor said...

And yet across the desert calling a Teddy Bear M******* is sacrosanct!

Bob Brady said...

I guess if you're a religion you can do whatever you want, holywise.

ted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ted said...

Cool is the new sacred?

Japanese monks try to promote Buddhism through fashion, rap music

TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese monks and nuns held a fashion show -- replete with rap music and a catwalk -- at a major Tokyo temple Saturday to promote Buddhism.

In the "Tokyo Bouz (monk) Collection" held at Tsukiji Honganji, nearly 40 monks and nuns from eight major Buddhist sects joined in the event aimed at winning back believers.

Following a rap version of a Buddhist sutra, five monks from each school walked on the runway, then chanted prayers and wrapped up in a grand finale with confetti resembling lotus petals.

"We wanted to show the young people that Buddhism is cool, and temples are not a place just for funerals," said Koji Matsubara, a chief monk at Tsukiji.

More than 1,200 years after it first arrived from mainland Asia, Buddhism in Japan is in crisis, priests say.

Almost three-quarters of Japan's population of 120 million are registered as Buddhist, but for many, the only time they enter a temple is to attend a funeral. That has sent many of the country's 75,000 temples into financial trouble.

"Many of us priests share the sense of crisis, and a need to do something to reach out to people," said priest Kosuke Kikkawa, 37, one of the organizers of Saturday's event. "We won't change Buddha's teachings, but perhaps we need a different presentation that can touch the feelings of the people today."

The Tsukiji Honganji offers theological seminars in English for foreign visitors, and has fitted its main hall with a pipe organ for Western-style weddings to attract young couples. Some other temples have also introduced cafes, art galleries and other innovations to reach out to young people who are interested in a different lifestyle.

Japan's aging population has meant more funerals, but the declining population and birth rate means fewer young people to share the bill to keep temples afloat.

Buddhist monks traditionally wear simple black robes.

But to appeal to more fashion-conscious youth, the monks wore green and yellow clothes, some with gold embroidery. Others wore elaborate, multilayered robes.

"Their robes were gorgeous," said Sayaka Anma, one of the audience in her 20s, after the monks' show. "I was a bit surprised in the beginning, but it was very moving."

(Mainichi Japan) December 15, 2007