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Thread: Japanese monks promote Buddhism through fashion, rap

  1. #1

    Japanese monks promote Buddhism through fashion, rap

    Japanese monks try to promote Buddhism through fashion, rap music

    TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese monks and nuns held a fashion show -- replete with rap music and a catwalk -- at a major Tokyo temple Saturday to promote Buddhism.

    In the "Tokyo Bozu (monk) Collection" held at Tsukiji Honganji, nearly 40 monks and nuns from eight major Buddhist sects joined in the event aimed at winning back believers.

    Following a rap version of a Buddhist sutra, five monks from each school walked on the runway, then chanted prayers and wrapped up in a grand finale with confetti resembling lotus petals.

    "We wanted to show the young people that Buddhism is cool, and temples are not a place just for funerals," said Koji Matsubara, a chief monk at Tsukiji.

    More than 1,200 years after it first arrived from mainland Asia, Buddhism in Japan is in crisis, priests say.

    Almost three-quarters of Japan's population of 120 million are registered as Buddhist, but for many, the only time they enter a temple is to attend a funeral. That has sent many of the country's 75,000 temples into financial trouble.

    "Many of us priests share the sense of crisis, and a need to do something to reach out to people," said priest Kosuke Kikkawa, 37, one of the organizers of Saturday's event. "We won't change Buddha's teachings, but perhaps we need a different presentation that can touch the feelings of the people today."

    The Tsukiji Honganji offers theological seminars in English for foreign visitors, and has fitted its main hall with a pipe organ for Western-style weddings to attract young couples. Some other temples have also introduced cafes, art galleries and other innovations to reach out to young people who are interested in a different lifestyle.

    Japan's aging population has meant more funerals, but the declining population and birth rate means fewer young people to share the bill to keep temples afloat.

    Buddhist monks traditionally wear simple black robes.

    But to appeal to more fashion-conscious youth, the monks wore green and yellow clothes, some with gold embroidery. Others wore elaborate, multilayered robes.

    "Their robes were gorgeous," said Sayaka Anma, one of the audience in her 20s, after the monks' show. "I was a bit surprised in the beginning, but it was very moving."

    (Mainichi Japan) December 15, 2007
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20 ... 0000c.html

  2. #2
    Interesting article Jun. I can't help but think it's sad that Japanese temples must stoop to having to entertain their adherents though.

    Thanks and Gassho,
    Kelly

  3. #3
    That is pretty funny and sad at the same time.

  4. #4
    :lol:
    That's the funniest news I've heard in a while.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  5. #5
    Here are some pictures. I guess mini-skirts are out this year. G,J

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/International ... id=4005047

  6. #6


    This one is the best. The guy fourth from the left is giving some serious pimp-eye.

    Just a thought, but maybe the younger folks would be more into Buddhism if the monks looked as if they were enjoying life (then again maybe they just weren't enjoying the fashion show). The bright colors do nothing for the somber expressions.

  7. #7
    They look rather more like clowns!

    Fancy ornamentation, elaborate titles and ranks, fancy robes and colourful kesa are NOT going to get the correct message of Buddhism across me thinks.

    Pride and ego talking there.

    By the way, you should see the prices of all those fancy robes and kesa! 35,000 (U.S. $300.00) up to 400,000 (U.S. $3,534.00) for some kesa!

    Now, where does that money come from?

  8. #8
    Perhaps they were going to sell/auction them off after the show?

    I doubt they would just keep them away in some closet, or actually where them on a daily basis... then again?

  9. #9
    Shingon-shu priests DO wear this type of robes a lot of the time!

  10. #10
    So.... Whatcha going to do about it?

    G,W

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by will
    So.... Whatcha going to do about it?

    G,W
    :?:

  12. #12
    Good Lord! I think the high fashion terminology for those would be Fugly. :shock:

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by TracyF
    Good Lord! I think the high fashion terminology for those would be Fugly. :shock:
    :lol:

  14. #14
    anyone else find it sad that spiritual leaders would resort to playing dress-up and pop music to theoretically garner attention for the faith?

  15. #15
    I am afraid that, since the early days of Buddhism and every other religion, folks have resorted to fancy costumes, rituals and music to attract popular following (and also to express some ideal image of the Sacred). Thus, everything from the great Buddhist temples of Asia to the Sistine Chapel ...

    By the way, have you seen this dance of 1000-Arm Kannon. There are a few versions by different dance troupes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTKJiP_bdbE[/video]]

  16. #16
    By the way, have you seen this dance of 1000-Arm Kannon. There are a few versions by different dance troupes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTKJiP_bdbE[/video]]


    Well, it certainly beats the pee out of rapping, unsmiling, unhappy looking hip-hop monks dressed in circus tents and upholstery ...

  17. #17
    does anyone have a link to the heart sutra rap? I do want to check that out.

  18. #18
    One version

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 45,0,0,1,0

    The Worst Horse has some stuff. Not necessarily Soto Zen though.

    http://theworsthorse.net/linkopedia.html

    G,W

  19. #19
    wanna give a collab a shot will? :twisted:

  20. #20
    Sure. That sounds fun. Heart Sutra?

    It'd also be great if one of the flute guys could lay down a sample.

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