A Nichiren School Buddhist temple has embraced the spirit of moe in order to win new converts, and has created a series of marvellous moe illustrations of the Buddhist pantheon in order to connect with contemporary youth.
The temple in question is situated in Tokyo’s Hachiouji City, and named 松栄山 了法寺 / Shoueizan Ryouhouji; it practices Nichiren Buddhism.
Buddhism having something of a musty air about it where Japan’s youth is concerned, it is not very appealing to most and has trouble winning converts, though a tangential connection between Lucky Star and Shinto has recently drummed up some interest in shrine-going.
However, the sister of the chief priest at the temple was discussing the matter with an “Akiba-kei” acquaintance, and it was suggested to use some moe style illustrations to help draw in young men.
Fortuitously, the acquaintance in question, a young lady going by the pseudonym of “Toromi”, was also an adept artist and drew some charming moe illustrations of the Buddhist divinities for use on a signboard outside the temple, and also online on a site for mobile phones.
Benzaiten (Saraswati, goddess of music and the waters): “My sword protects the righteous. My jewel expresses my devotion.”
Inari (Foxy harvest god and Inari-dou stone servants): “We kitsune (foxes) are Inari-sama’s servants. We are not Inari-sama though.”
How to Pray: “Place your hands together and recite ‘Namu-Myou-Hou-Ren-Ge-Kyou’”
Visitors to the temple are said to have increased since the illustrations were commissioned, though the illustrations themselves are not used inside the temple yet.
The priests, who in Japan are traditionally rather worldly and relatively mercantile, are said to be considering more aggressive application of their moe brand, and even the sale of moe goods on the temple grounds.
This is a lady dragon, apparently.
As 2ch puts it “If the Buddha can save people, then there is no doubt – he must be a bishoujo.”
Via Itai News.
With modernised religious imagery of such quality, it even seems missionary activity in Japan and beyond is a possibility…