Jamaica Gleaner - - ARTS&ED­U­CA­TION - Amitabh.sharma@hot­mail.com

them to the hills be­hind the tem­ple,” Chiba, gen­eral af­fairs di­rec­tor at Zuigan-ji in­formed. “It was very cold and also started to snow and the con­di­tions were not good, so we moved the peo­ple to the tem­ple af­ter the tsunami had passed.” Chiba was in con­stant touch with the au­thor­i­ties and was get­ting up­dates from the ra­dio broad­casts. Af­ter the wa­ters had sub­sided, he went to the lo­cal govern­ment of­fices and ar­ranged for a bus to evac­u­ate the tourists. Call it di­vine in­ter­ven­tion, mys­tery of the un­known – peo­ple’s faith in Zuigan-ji is stead­fast as the rocky ed­i­fice of the com­plex it­self. The tem­ple has gone through its meta­mor­pho­sis. The present­day build­ing was com­pleted in 1609 by Date Masamune. The struc­ture is in the or­nate Mo­moyama style, used by Toy­otomi Hideyoshi, supreme war­lord of Ja­pan in the lat­ter half of the 16th cen­tury. In­side the main build­ing are rich and or­nately dec­o­rated rooms. The Pea­cock Room in the main hall is the fo­cal point where the roy­alty presided, rich and bright colours, or­nate walls and high ceil­ings, per­son­i­fied as the sanc­tum sanc­to­rum. “There were no pea­cocks here when the first panel was painted,” Chiba said, point­ing to the artist’s ren­di­tion of this royal bird. “Sub­se­quently,” he added, “more paint­ings were added, which were more re­al­is­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tions.” The main build­ing re­opened to the public af­ter restora­tion in April 2016. Zuigan-ji en­cap­su­lates the essence of the Mo­moyama era – the carv­ings and paint­ings rep­re­sent­ing the con­flu­ence of nature with man’s cre­ations. A wooden marker out­side the gates of Zuigan-ji shows where the wa­ters of tsunami stopped – a tes­ta­ment that there are nu­ances that are be­yond realm of moral souls, Mat­sushima and its peo­ple have lived that fate­ful day. “Ev­ery morn­ing, we are bor­na­gain,” once said Gautam Bud­dha, founder of Bud­dhism. “What we do to­day is what mat­ters most.”

The visit to Ja­pan is part of ‘Pa­cific Is­lands and Caribbean Jour­nal­ists’ Pro­gramme’ or­gan­ised by the Tokyo based As­so­ci­a­tion for Pro­mo­tion of In­ter­na­tional Co-oper­a­tion (APIC) with sup­port from For­eign Press Cen­tre, Ja­pan.


Zuigan-ji priest Yoichi Chiba.

Wooden marker at Zuigan-ji, the de­struc­tive Tsunami waves of March 3, 2011 stopped right there.

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