The 88-foot-tall tree, a single survivor among 70,000 trees in a forest along the coast in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, has been artificially restored in a project to preserve it. Japan marked the second anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that swept through northern Japan, damaging more than one million homes and killing almost 19,000 people.
Bamboo trees at the Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan. From the Heian (794-1185) to Edo (1603-1868) periods, the destitute of the Adashino area brought their dead to this hill, leaving the bodies exposed to the elements. Receiving no tombstone or proper burial, their souls were honored by stone Buddhas. At the top of the hill, thousands of stone Buddha statues mourn the dead, who have been brought here since the Heian period, and laid to rest.
The main temple hall at Adashino Nenbutsuji was built in 1712.
The word of zen:
However thick a bamboo grove is, a stream is free to flow through it.
However high a mountain is, a white cloud is free to drift over it.
A garden gate in Tokei-ji.
By: Utagawa Yoshitsuya II, 1873 (Meiji 6). Calico and Tortoise-shell Rabbits, woodblock prints.
The scene: 1870’s Japan, the end of the Edo period, when Japan has resumed diplomatic trade relations with the West, and begins importing exotic plants and animals. Emperor Meiji 6 (inspired by Britain’s theories of free markets without the burden of governmental interference) proclaims: All classes high and low shall unite in vigorously promoting the economy and welfare of the nation.
Of the most exotic imports, the “calico” or “tortoise shell” rabbit brings about an immediate breeding frenzy in the larger cities, particularly Osaka and Tokyo. “All classes, high and low” embrace the business of breeding, buying, trading, and selling rabbits, resulting in a frenetic speculative rabbit trade. The high-stake rabbit trade introduces a new crime wave, as everyone rushes to make millions from the exotic rabbits, and it isn’t long before city governments implement regulations, requiring traders to report monthly activity and pay a one yen tax per rabbit sold to the government. The high-stake hopes of rabbit-breeding-wealth comes abruptly to an end, after a tumultuous two-year (1872-74) bubble.
Komusō, Japanese mendicant monks, characterized by the straw baskets worn over their heads while playing Japanese flutes (known as shakuhachi) during the collection of alms. Photograph by Julian Cochrane (1904).
Ivory Manju Netsuke (Rabbit in full moon shape, c. 18th Century), signed: Okatoma.
Netsuke, carved miniature sculptures, first became evident in 17th Century Japan. “Ne” + “tsuke” means “root” and “to attach,” as these tiny objects were first carried around in small, beautifully crafted boxes or baskets and secured with a cord and button-like toggle called a netsuke. The term “netsuke” evolved over time into its current definition of a finely crafted and beloved miniature object of art, carved with extraordinary attention to detail.
The Tree Seller and the Broom Seller.
Remarkable collection of photographs: At Work in Old Japan