Tag Archives: Buddism

五百羅漢

29 May

Today we went to a special, temporary exhibit at the 「江戸東京博物館」 (“Edo-Tokyo Museum“) titled 「五百羅漢」 (“Five Hundred Buddhist Saints“).

Originally scheduled to be 2011 Mar 15 - May 29...it was postponed due to the Sendai Earthquake---the exhibit's dates are now 2011 April 29 - July 3.

This exhibit has paintings by the Japanese artist Kano Kazunobu depicting scenes from stories about the “500 Saints of Buddhism”.

I’m not familiar with these stories because I’m not a follower of Buddhism (or any other religion). And I’d say that very few Japanese people know about these stories either.
Buddhism came to Japan from China (which got it from India) and it’s traditions were “Japan-ized” and incorporated with traditions from Japan’s native “religion”, Shinto.
Even though parts of both religions are traditions in Japan (for example, “Shinto” or “Christian”-style weddings, and “Buddhist”-style funerals), almost no Japanese person actually believes in religious doctrine.

Even though I don’t know about the religious stories, like most of the other people at the exhibit, I was interested in the history and artistic value of these paintings that were drawn about 200 years ago (and most were destroyed in the Allied bombings of Japan during World War II).

The "saints" healing animals.

The "saints" saving people from "Hell".

If you want to see these paintings, they’ll be exhibited until 2011 July 3rd.