Saturday, May 1, 2021

Santoka Taneda and Midorikannonzuisenji Temple


This is a statues of Santoka Taneda (1882-1940 ) a famous poet of the early 20th century who is well known as much for his lifestyle as his poetry. The statue is in the grounds of a small Zen temple just north of Kumamoto.

I came across the temple by chance. Day 47 of my walk along the Kyushu pilgrimage found me heading north out of Kumamoto City to the next temple in Yamaga. I came across a statue of Fudo Myo at the base of a set of very steep, narrow, and overgrown steps that led up the hill////

It is a quite small Soto temple but with quite a lot of statuary around. Santoka had made what many believed was a suicide attempt by stepping in front of a train in Kumamoto. He recuperated at a nearby zen temple and was obviously attracted to something because a year later he was ordained as a Zen priest.

He then spent a year as a caretaker here at Midorikannonzuisenji before heading off on his famous walks around Japan.

Zuisenji is a larger temple a little lower down the hill, and this was the Kannon -do of the temple. I believe these are rakan statues, but, as usual, might be mistaken.

I am fairly certain this is a Kannon.

These two more colorful statues were, I believe, connected to a shrine just above the kannondo. They do have somewhat of a kami statue feel to them, but I have no idea. Maybe a reader does?

The temple is popular for fans of Santoka, and is also known for its autumn colors. A short haiku by Santoka can be found here.

Bato Kannon, the Horsehead Kannon, popular among livestock raisers as well as samurai. 

There were a couple of statues of Ebisu.

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