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Récord: 80 m
Categoría: Estatuas Budistas
Localización: Awaji Island, Hyōgo Prefectura
Este antiguo templo de la escuela esotérica Shingon dedicado al Buda Yakushi se sitúa en una colina en frente de la bahía de Osaka. El edificio principal, llamado Mizumido o Templo del agua, ha sido recientemente reconstruido y su arquitectura ha sido confiada a Tadao Ando. El techo del edificio es un estanque donde crecen flores de loto y nenúfares. El interior es de color rojo bermellón, con luz natural y por su diseño especial al atardecer, la estatua de Buda aparece en un halo de luz.
Dai-Kannon de Sekai Heiwa (Awaji-shima, Japon) (80m 20m) 100m, 1982
World Peace Giant Kannon
2012/09/24 by Florian
Ruins in Japan are often in such good condition that they are not recognizable as ruins at first sight. One example would be the World Peace Giant Kannon on Awaji Island, Hyogo prefecture – Kannon not being a spelling mistake, but the Japanese name for the bodhisattva associated with compassion, Guanyin. Other spellings include Kan’on, Kanzeon and Kwannon with the latter being the name giver for Canon, which was founded as Kwanon in 1934 and had the bodhisattva in its logo. I guess a World Peace Giant Cannon only exists in the minds of some really crazy people…
In 2010 I actually drove past the 80 meters tall World Peace Giant Kannon on its 20 meters tall socket building. Sure, it looked interesting, but the bright white statue seemed to be rather new in the warm sunlight of that day, so I didn’t even consider stopping. When I got back home and looked up what the statue really was I found out that most important of all it was abandoned… (It’s the 4th tallest statue in Japan and the 13th tallest in the world. Including the socket it ranks 3 and 10.)
The World Peace Giant Kannon is actually part of the Heiwa Kannon Temple (heiwa meaning peace…), which was founded and funded by Toyokichi Okunai, a realtor who became rich dealing with office buildings, private apartments and business hotels in Osaka. The basis is a 5 storey building, 20 meters tall. The first floor was home to all kinds of religious exhibits as well as well as information about the famous Shikoku Pilgrimage (consisting of 88 temples along a 1200 kilometers long hiking course which usually takes between 30 and 60 days to complete). The other floors were stuffed with Mr. Okunai’s private collections – transportation, watches, china, art, armors. The fourth floor was home to a sightseeing restaurant, a banquet hall and a souvenir shop. If you look up the 80 meters tall statue on top of the building you can see some kind of a “collar” right below the statue’s head – that turned out to be an observation platform.
Although attracting up to 2000 visitors per day it seems like a lot of people were appalled by this mix of religion and commerce, some even accused Mr. Okunai of heresy. When Mr. Okunai died in 1988 his wife took over the management of the World Peace Giant Kannon until her death in February of 2006. After her death the Okunais’ real estate company closed the place right away and the Heiwa Kannon Temple started to fall in disrepair quickly, probably due to the lack of management of Mrs. Okunai during her final years. The Lehman Brothers took over, but they failed badly themselves at the time. Put to auction several times in 2007 and 2008 by the Kobe District Court nobody bid any money (which reminds me of the *Former Iranian Consulate* in Kobe…), so the temple was shifted to a separate company in September 2008. Since the World Peace Giant Kannon was liable to collapse (its exterior is molded of gypsum and resulted in the statue’s nickname Whiplash Kannon”) a committee was established in May 2009 by the local government, which took measures against the further deterioration of both the World Peace Giant Kannon and the nearby 10-storey pagoda in September of 2011. Just a couple of months after my buddy Gianluigi and I explored the place…
Walking up to the Heiwa Kannon Temple is actually quite impressive. The huge pagoda is right next to a parking lot and a closed restaurant. From there we had to walk up a hill to the back of the socket building. There we found all kinds of statues and items that didn’t go together very well, including a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty and an original Class D51 steam locomotive, the D51 828. We circled the socket building quickly and found an easy entry. The first floor was almost empty as most religious exhibits were gone. A quick look at the office on that floor didn’t give us much insight, so we headed up one of two staircases (one in the north, one in the south) that connected the floors. Some of them were locked, but we gained access to the restaurant on the fourth floor and the tatami room on the fifth floor. Approaching the fifth floor we heard voices, so we talked loudly to make ourselves heard. A minute or two later a young couple in their early 20s rushed past us, the guy holding a photo camera and the girl’s clothes not really being in order – your guess here is as good as mine…
The tatami room once held the Mr. Okunai’s armor, but nowadays well armored soldiers of another kind were all over the floor: suzumebachi, Japanese Giant Hornets, 5 centimeters long killer machines. Luckily they were dead and it wasn’t summer yet, so Gian and I concentrated on the task at hand. In one of the hallways leading to the staircases we found an elevator – and nearby a mysterious claustrophobically narrow und pitch-black staircase that began to wind upwards. After spending a couple of minutes on the rooftop of the socket building admiring the beautiful gigantic Kannon statue we headed back inside and up the staircase. It was dark, the air was bad and some door-like openings revealed unpleasant views at the inside of the statue – even without knowing that people were discussing repairing the Kannon it was pretty clear that investments were necessary. After climbing stairs for about 10 minutes (it felt much longer…) we finally reached the observation platform, which offered both stunning and scary views. The location of the World Peace Giant Kannon between the coast of Awaji Island and the gentle hills was breathtaking – and so were the cracks in the gypsum everywhere. Buildings in Japan are barely constructed for eternity, but this one definitely has seen better days!
And so Gian and I walked down stairs for about 85 meters and left after spending surprisingly much time at this obviously quite popular abandoned statue – passing the also abandoned pagoda a group of about half a dozen Japanese twens was walking up the hill to have a look themselves. And I am sure they weren’t the last visitors as the maintenance work at the Heiwa Kannon Temple started not earlier than four months later…
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Inserción: 2012-09-24 14:32:15
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