Monday, January 17, 2011

Kunisaki Fudo Myo o


The Kunisaki Peninsular in Oita Prefecture, northern Kyushu, was a major center of Shugendo, the syncretic mountain religion mixing elements of esoteric Buddhism, Daoism, and other forms of mountain "religions". The version practised in Kunisaki was a variant based on Tendai and Hachiman.

Fudo Myo is strongly associated with Shugendo, so I expected to see a lot of Fudo statuary, but actually there wasn't all that much.

These first three were all at Taizo-ji.


Though details differ, most statues of Fudo Myo have him holding a sword in his right hand, a rope in his left, and flames behind.

The devil-subduing sword represents wisdom cutting through ignorance. The rope is used to catch and tie up demons.


The flames purify the mind by burning away material desires. Fudo Myo's fierce, fanged face is meant to frighten people into accepting the Buddhas way....


Up on the mountainside above Taizo-Ji are the Kumano Magaibutsu, 2 huge carvings hewn directly into the cliff face.


The one of Fudo Myo is eight meters tall and the largest cliff carving in Japan.


I am almost sure that this old wooden statue of Fudo Myo is at Maki Odo, which also has many other wonderful wooden statues.


In the center of the Kunisaki Peninsular is Futago-san, the highest mountain, and on it lies Futago-Ji dedicated to Fudo Myo, so there are many statues of him here. The two figues at his sides are probably Kongara Doji and Seitaka Doji.


Like many of the Buddhist deities, Fudo Myo's origin is in Hinduism.



  1. Jake , some time ago I travelled to Morioka to see a Daibatsu statue I had read about.Having found it , I also came across a cemetary in the lower grounds that had some of the most insane looking statues.Some are identical to those on this page.They are on my flickr site, under a set titled Morioka (kiddus_i2003) you may be able to explain some of the other statues (monks! and dragons)

  2. had a look and left comments..... dragons are everywhere in Japan..... from China..... one common manifestation in Japan are the 8 Dragon Kings.....
    Best site for researching buddhist iconography in Japan is

  3. The Fudo statue at Maki Odo is reportedly the largest wooden statue of Fudo in Japan. You can see a video of me making a private tour of the museum at Makiodo. They have a wonderful collection of statues from the 12th/13th century. Click the JOURNEYS IN JAPAN icon after clicking the below link:

  4. Hi Mark
    Yes, thats the 6th photo above yes?..... the one in Okayama is much bigger but much newer...... keeping up with superlatives in Japan is difficult :)