I am a big fan of Osamu Tezuka, often called the father of manga. I desperately wanted to see the Tezuka museum since finding out it was a thing. And in the spring holidays, I did! I have photos to prove it. While there I really had two main takeways. First, for all I care about Tezuka and have learned from various books and histories, I have read very little of his work. And second, he wrote a lot, so it just seems statistically odd to have dealt with as a little of his work as I have.
I’ve watched pretty much all the Astroboy that exists, some Blackjack, and that is pretty much it in terms of his work. Not until a few weeks ago had I even read any of his manga. Since I’ve somehow always loved his work while consuming barely any of it, I thought I’d try and read what I can. I’ve been told Tezuka’s work is rather hard to read so I’ve been reading it in English.
I went to see a Sailor Moon Musical.
Impressed enough? This is actually the third in a new series of musicals each one being a modified version of one season of the show. This particular one being based on what is generally considered sailor moon at its best, Sailor Moon S. Which you know as the one that introduces the remaining “outer” planets, Neptune, Uranus and Saturn.
“So… what are you going to do during Golden Week?”
“Hmmm… Well I think just some day trips around Ehime, like seeing that statue of Jizo carved into a tree at Kiriyama!”
“… The what?”
And that was a lot of conversations in the lead up to this trek to Kiriyama. Kiriyama is east of Saijo where I live. East of Niihama, east of Shikokuchuo. A fair trek to say the least. Being way up in the mountains, I couldn’t got alone. A lovely friend of mind I mentioned this too, and got a bit of help from about how to get there (or how not to get there) was like “LET’S DO THIS” and so we went together.
And so we drove.
And it was a NICE DAY. Not too hot, not too cold. Sunny, but not overly bright. A great day to go into the mountains. There were some wonderful views and I will let the photos speak for themselves as to Kiriyama and the journey generally.
In addition, we also stopped by the oldest house in Ehime, which is about 400 years old, and was given tea by the person who cares for it. We didn’t know this was there and more sort of stumbled into it when wanting to check we were going in the right direction. If you are going to stumble into somewhere, this is one of the better places to do it.
Then finally we come to the reason today happened.
Which on closer look…
So, I should probably spend some time running through who Jizo is for those who don’t know. Personally I don’t really know much so much of this is research I did just for this post. So firstly, Jizo is a Bodhisattva or Bosatsu, which in my understanding is similar to the western notion of a saint. Jizo serves as a general protector to anyone who needs help. If you read Mori Ogai’s Sansho the Bailiff an amulet of Jizo helps the two children in the story, through a dream sequence was implied to take pain instead of them.
Of the Buddist icons within Japan, Jizo is perhaps one of the most well known. You can find out more here if you want.
Next up, Towel Museum!