People are drawn to this kannon statue with its peaceful smile full of affection the instant they see it. The statue was carved by an ascetic monk called Enku, who was said to have been born in Hashima City in the Edo period. He carved some 120,000 Buddhist statues during his lifetime, while traveling all around Japan. The statues are dynamically carved using a hatchet, and you get a feeling of warmth and strength from his work. This kannon statue was made when Enku was about 40 years old. His mother passed away when he was very young, and he enshrined a mirror he kept as a memento of her inside the statue's body. The story goes that he made the statue to commemorate the 33rd year of her death. The soft, kind expression may be a reflection of Enku's love for his mother.
※ Views like the one shown in the photo can only be seen under certain conditions (time of day, weather etc.).
The statue of the eleven-faced kannon is the principal object in the Naka Kannon-do Hall. The Hall is home to 16 other Enku statues, making it the largest collection in Hashima City. The sight of them all lined up is really something. In the adjoining Hashima Enku Museum, you can see Enku-butsu reproductions collected from all around the country, arranged by period. Admission fee 300 yen, closed on Monday.
The pleasure of travel: Statue of the Eleven-Faced Kannon
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updated on Jan 8, 2016