04 Jan

And upon my wall rest the brothers Jizo (Ji Gee – zo so with a z sound). I think they’re cute, but Isaac finds them a bit odd.

A Jizo is a statue in Japan that can be found anywhere but is normally around graveyards and road crossings. That’s because the Jizo is a Japanese divinity; the Guardian of children, especially those that have died before their parents.  In the 1980s he also became the guardian of the “water children”, all of those that have died before they were able to be born.

People can clothe the statue in bibs, children’s clothes and hats. These are gifts to Jizo for helping guide their children to the afterlife (and for hiding them from demons too).

Besides children, Jizo also protects travelers (which is why he can be found on the roadside) and interestingly enough, to me at least, firefighters.

My little Jizos, on the other hand, are telling me “Your smile is my treasure” so I love them. This was given to me by one of my JTEs (Japanese Teacher of English) and I still adore it. In one of the nearby shops I’ve found more pictures and even a calendar, but Isaac says one is enough. 🙂

Oh, and in their right hands they’re carrying a Shakujo (Sha from another – ku coo – jo Joe) which is a jingle staff, making noise to alert insects and smaller animals of his approach so that he doesn’t step on them.

Sounds like a nice guy, eh?

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Posted by on 04/01/2011 in Deities, Religion


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