Tokyo ( AsiaNews) - A statue of the goddess Kannon , the Buddha of compassion from the pine forest that surrounded the Buddhist temple of Taimadera, but was devastated by the earthquake and the tusunami of March 2011. This statue, says its sculptor , " is a sign of hope for the survivors and a call to prayer for the souls of those who died during this tragedy". Sculpted with the wood of 70 thousand pine trees destroyed by the fury of nature, it will be placed under the last tree left standing in the forest that surrounds the temple.
Seizan Watanabe, a famous sculptor of Buddhist statues from the Prefecture of Shida , was involved in the project by a Katsuragi municipal employee, in Nara Prefecture , who immediately after the tragedy of March 11 was sent to the Tohoku area to give support to victims and oversee the work of reconstruction. The Taimadera temple was located in the area( Katsuragi ), known for its beautiful pine forest.
Saddened by the destruction of trees and the waste of their wood, the man contacted the sculptor Watanabe and invited him to the area. After seeing the situation, and after a short stay in the temple, the artist met the survivors : "They told me they could not give in to what happened but had to go on. So I had the idea to carve a Ayumi Kannon , a deity who embodies compassion and invites people to move forward one step at a time".
More than 7 thousand people, in response to an appeal by the local monks, gathered pieces of wood and sent them to Watanabe. To avoid the statue being too fragile, the sculptor added more robust woods using the " ichibozu -zukuri " , or " chiseling from the largest to the smallest" method (see photo) . The sculptor responded to all those who have contributed, by sending them splinters of the processed material "for good luck".
The statue was unveiled January
24 last at the sculptor's home, but it will be donated to the area of
Rikuzentakata , one of the hardest hit by the tsunami, on July 11. On
that date the ceremony of "soul infusion" in the statue will also be
held: The sculptor, accompanied by the prayers of Buddhist monks, will paint
the eyes giving it the chance to "see" the world and human beings . After
a period in Rikuzentakata , it will eventually be placed under the last pine
tree left standing.
On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake shook the eastern coast of Japan , causing a devastating tsunami . Approximately 16 thousand people died immediately after the tragedy (thousands more disappeared), but the number of victims continues to rise given the damage to the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, which caused a leak of deadly radiation . The Japanese Church and Caritas are engaged in rehabilitation programs in the area, but there are still thousands of people living in dire conditions.