Jizō

I took these pictures a couple of years ago, not knowing exactly what it was that I took pictures of. I just found out today! These little statues have to do with Jizō. Jizō is guardian of the souls of stillborn, miscarried or aborted fetuses, in the ritual of mizuko kuyō.

“In Japanese mythology, it is said that the souls of children who die before their parents are unable to cross the mythical Sanzu River on their way to the afterlife because they have not had the chance to accumulate enough good deeds and because they have made the parents suffer. It is believed that Jizō saves these souls from having to pile stones eternally on the bank of the river as penance, by hiding them from demons in his robe, and letting them hear mantras.” (From wikipedia)

I am wandering around in this country everyday, and I see so many things which I do not understand, only to much later find out what it was I actually saw and therefore rediscover and rethink it. It’s like I am experiencing the same things several times, but with different layers of meaning each time. (In many ways, this is not such a bad thing, to first be able to just see something for the pure visual beauty, and later learn what it means.) I find it strange to walk around in a country, and in many ways be part of it, eat the food, talk to the people, take the train… and yet I am so incredibly on the side of it all. I feel very at home in Japan, but I still think I will always feel like I am observing all of this from the outside, looking in.

  1. Angélica says:

    Wow, that’s impressive!