"Jizo Bosatsu" Prayer for War OrphansKyoto High School Student's Design17 July 2015 - Education/University
Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2, people involved with Buddhist services at Daizenin Temple in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, made a stone statue of "Ojizo-san," or the Guardian Deity of Travelers and Children, in order to pass down the history of children who lost their families in the war. A High school student in charge of designing the statue put feeling into the design, saying "War is wrong. We want to symbolize the sentiment of looking for peace."
Since Daizenin Temple has kept the remains and the hair of war orphans, Yutaka Honjo, a teacher at Ritsumeikan Uji Junior and Senior High School who is investigating the orphans, started the memorial service there two years ago. After that, people formerly involved with facilities for housing orphans came forward to participate in the service and considered setting up a stone statue to pass down the orphans' history.
The stone statue is called "Senso-ko Jizo." The approximately 90 centimeters tall "Jizo Bosatsu," or statue of Ksitigarbha, smiles while holding the earth on top of which five small Jizo Bosatsu also stand. Yuki Shirai, a third year student at Ritsumeikan Uji Senior High School, was asked to design it after becoming interested in war orphans through Honjo's class and taking part in the Buddhist service.
Shirai said her imagination expanded after reading historical materials. "Five small statues express 'repatriated and left-behind orphans,' 'Atomic bomb orphans' and so on. The big Jizo Bosatsu is meant to give the impression of a mother, praying that the orphans will be watched over forever."
Security-related bills were passed in the House of Representatives in the Diet on July 16. The statue is to appeal against that, meaning "There is a sense of crisis, where it seems it will become possible for our country to engage in war. We never want that to happen again."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)