Moe Buddhism Draws Otaku Converts


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…

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    Comment by M
    10:00 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I guess the buddhists see the enlightenment by moe.

    Comment by imhgtsukishiro
    09:17 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    What if they integrated the Saint Oniisan manga? The one where Buddha & Jesus take a vacation on earth

    Comment by Anonymous
    Avatar of jaxom
    Comment by jaxom
    09:55 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    im sorry, i just had to say it..

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:45 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Buddhism doesn't have God, apparently.

    Comment by Metalbunny
    13:06 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just wait!! science will give us true anime >...< lolz

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:46 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    they will give uz Gundumbz

    Comment by kenjiharima
    13:23 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)


    Avatar of koto-chan
    Comment by Koto-Chan
    Comment by MaidNiac
    11:49 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hmm.. Christianity anime-fied.. Bishie Jesus with His 12 Bishie Disciples..?

    Comment by Kyo
    17:37 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Y...MCA! Y....MCA!

    Comment by abort-retry-fail
    09:09 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    There must be a lack of young disciples...

    Comment by imhgtsukishiro
    09:06 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    All the more reason to convert to Buddhism

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:36 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    The illustrations are like from a free korean mmorpg :o

    Comment by Tex Arcana
    10:32 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Waitwaitwait- What?

    Do you have a link for that mmorpg, by any chance?

    Comment by shalala
    07:29 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh my its toooooo cute. Buddha must be a bishoujo.

    Comment by mi
    08:17 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    i agree
    this is better than some fa--*got shot*

    Avatar of Techeese
    Comment by Techeese
    05:31 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sorry I'm already converted to Touhouism

    Avatar of Ukonkivi
    Comment by Ukonkivi
    05:26 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Bah, I still like Shinto better.
    But I like how this is still heavily animistic influences Buddhism and not "pure" Buddhism like someone talked about at a thread on the forums.

    That Benzaiten and Inari foxes interest me.

    Avatar of Niwa
    Comment by WiseRooster
    05:28 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    One of these days I was wanting to convert to Buddhism through other means but even so

    Hell Im sold XD

    Avatar of あずにゃん大好き
    Comment by 泉こなた
    07:41 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I`ve always been interested in Buddhism, but this just might have pushed me over the edge....

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:57 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Genius,pure genius.

    Avatar of Maderlulz
    Comment by maderlulz
    08:13 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    “If the Buddha can save people, then there is no doubt – he must be a bishoujo.” I second.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:55 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    But are you people sure this moe method will ignite tangential learning and attract actual converts instead of just an attempt to take advantage of the moe craze. I’m thinking of converting to Buddhism. And even though this seems like a good way to get converts, I’m not interested in moe that much. and this seem to me like a hit and a miss to people who actually want to join.

    Comment by >.>
    05:37 18/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    So much win in this post.

    Avatar of Raymond O
    Comment by Raymond Otaku Ting
    10:25 18/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    becoming monk for that...

    Comment by The Smooth Anon
    21:45 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Kavaj buddhizmus gecyk

    Comment by SenseiSyaoranLi
    22:49 18/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    loool temple buddhist moe

    Avatar of BloodThirstyNogitsune
    11:24 18/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    imagine Christians doing the same Moe Nuns lol

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    04:52 15/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm shocked by the number of converts in the comments. Don't you realize that mikos are in Shinto shrines?

    Comment by Orio94
    02:30 19/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Added to my list of places to visit when I go to Japan. MAN THIS VACATION IS GUNNA PWN!!!

    Comment by Kyo
    17:37 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    How about a shota Jesus? Mmmmmm....


    Comment by Anonymous
    16:34 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I can´t believe they are using something as important as moe to do such a mundane task.

    Comment by —-
    16:12 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Fuck this shit. I want my Gods to be manly and kick-ass. I'm becoming an Asatru.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:27 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    >propagating delusions
    what... just what.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:48 16/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maby GOD will be happy about it?? @@

    Comment by Anonymous
    Avatar of Rethardus
    Comment by Rethardus
    22:35 16/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    God, let's stop this stupid moe fad.

    It's so cheap and so easy. Make a random product (or in this case, a school), make a cute female mascot for it = 100 % success rate.

    It doesn't make sense. At this rate, everyone will make a mascot for their product and everything is going to be cliché. It's a really cheap technique, and I think this school would attract pupils for the wrong reasons... People should join this school because they have the right ideals about Buddhism, not because they get to fap on the image of the school's entrance...

    Comment by MaidNiac
    11:27 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Better change your avatar then if you have serious problems with Moe marketing..

    Comment by MusicalNote
    23:28 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    You have quite a good point there.

    Avatar of Rethardus
    Comment by Rethardus
    08:40 19/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't mind moe-marketing, I think it's idiot that when you paste a sticker with a moe character on a watermelon, that it boosts sale.

    And people are saying that I overreact, but what's with all the reactions defending this like I insulted their mother.

    Now get mad.

    Comment by MusicalNote
    23:12 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think the illustrations are to drum up interest. Not even otaku will SERIOUSLY join a religion for the moe characters. There are a few who would, I'm sure, but the moe will attract attention to the ideals of the religion which could attract true converts.

    Besides, I like the idea of moefication. I mean, moe-Buddha isn't going to convert me to Buddhism, but it'll give me something cute to look at and might make some of the stories a little more interesting.

    As for everything becoming cliche... you haven't been here long, huh? You can't take a step in any direction when media (or anything else, really) is involved without tripping over a clusterfuck of cliche. Sturgeon's Law/Revelation is something you may want to check out, my friend.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:39 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    GTFO Mr.Retard-wuss

    Comment by Waterfall Towers
    23:14 16/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Urgh, stop sending weird images to my head.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:03 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Cry more, fag.

    Avatar of Rethardus
    Comment by Rethardus
    00:14 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    So you suggests that anything is fine if it has an anime girl on it? Well, good luck with your anal beads with Konata on it.

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Lazydabear
    10:31 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    "It was suggested to use some moe style illustrations to help draw in young men."

    Using they are using a Transgender Dragon and few jail bait kids to attract people into Nichiren Buddhism.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:18 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    But are you people sure this moe will ignite tangential learning and attract actual converts instead of just an attempt to take advantage of the moe craze. I'm thinking of converting to Buddhism. And even though this seems like a good way to get converts, I'm not interested in moe that much. and this seem to me like a hit and a miss to people who actually want to join.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:34 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Who cares, seriously ? If you're buying sex products in Japan, you shouldn't really be surprised.

    About Buddhism, It's not like there's no serious works on it. Maybe they want to explain it clearly to people attracted to animes but not attracted to scholastic books. Or maybe their audience is children.
    Plus, I don't really see messages like "Go buddhism, it's the right thing". It looks more like an explanation like people already done, with simple drawings, for a lot of things.
    I think you're just reacting because it's advertised as "Moe" on Sankaku complex and you're relating it to other news.

    And what's with your argument anyway ? It it's fine but also attracts dumbass then stop it ? Manga-like characters should only be sticked to manga ? Geez, speak about closed-minded.

    Comment by Amuris
    08:24 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is true, this mentality goes against many anime's and manga's which are just stories, myths, and folklore re-imagined. More so, those were written because the creator had an interest in their muse. It's just a way of expressing that interest which draws others to it as well. Haven't you ever read a manga and than looked up the characters names or the monsters used in the story?

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Lazydabear
    01:47 18/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Explanation and education about Buddhism yes using Cartoons to educate younger children effectively works.

    I can understand Temple trying to attract young people because they need funds to keep that temple buisness going, I have to say its laughable.

    Comment by Orio94
    02:28 19/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    Konata anal beads?!?! WHERE?!

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:53 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    They never said they wanted to attract young guys. This is an interpretation of the first journalist. The only citation speaking about youngsters is : 「若い人を引き寄せるためにと、とても魅力的な絵を描いてくれた」 which can be roughly translated by "In order to pull the interest from younsters, we offered really charming drawings".

    And manga is one standard for drawings in Japan. Like I said before, you're off the point. They're trying to pull some interest in buddhism with simple explanations which aren't proselyt. Their audience is people is youngsters and a lot of them aren't interested in books. Maybe they will after but not now. Maybe the same thing is done in other countries, using cartoons to explain some religions or *gasp* even scientific matters !

    Explanations are explanations. That you do it with an encylopedia, conference or visual novel, it's still an explanation. You're overreacting because there's the word "Moe".

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:24 17/07/2009 # ! Neutral (0)

    No, I'm suggesting that you keep whining like a little bitch. Looks like you're listening. Good job.

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