A Jizo Statue, that Walked the Ancient Streets Of Kyoto:
Walking the streets of Kyoto you come across many Jizo Statue’s. In fact Jizō Statue’s are found everywhere you go in Japan. This particular one is being worshipped for Easy Childbirth and Child-Giving.
The other day, I was in the Hyakumanben area (百万遍) of Sakyō-ku, Kyōto. There was a large Jizo statue on the corner of Imadegawa Dori (今出川通) and Shigagoe-michi (志賀越道). If you follow Imadegawa Dori further down you reach the Ginkaku-ji Temple. This Koyasu-Bodhisattva Jizo statue was first erected during the Kamakura Era (鎌倉時代, 1185–1333).
Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the Walking Jizo Statue:
During the Azuchi–Momoyama period, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣 秀吉) built a lavish Palace called Jurakudai (聚楽第) in Kyoto. He very much liked the Koyasu-Bodhisattva from the Hyakumanben site and wanted it in his garden. This Jizō Statue didn’t like the spot in Hideyoshi’s palace garden and was continuously wining and wailing. Somehow its neck was cut during this time. In the Sanshū Meiseki-shi (山州名跡志) or “Famous Sights of Sanshū” of 1711, this story can be found. It has been said that Koyasu-Bodhisattva eventually walked back to its original spot.
What is, or what was Sanshū (山州)?:
I was intrigued by the “Famous Sights of Sanshū” and did a bit of research. Here is what I discovered, courtesy of Wikipedia.
“Yamashiro Province (山城国) was a province of Japan, located in Kinai. It overlaps the southern part of modern Kyoto Prefecture on Honshū. Aliases include Jōshū (城州), the rare Sanshū (山州), and Yōshū (雍州). It is classified as an upper province in the Engishiki.
Kinai (畿内) is a Japanese term denoting an ancient division of the country. Kinai is a name for the ancient provinces around the capital Nara and Heian-kyō. The five provinces were called go-kinai after 1760.
Yamashiro Province included Kyoto itself, as in 794 AD Yamashiro became the seat of the imperial court, and, during the Muromachi Period, was the seat of the Ashikaga Shogunate as well. The capital remained in Yamashiro until its de facto move to Tokyo in the 1870s.”
The meaning of Jizo Statue’s:
One of the most beloved of all Japanese divinities, Jizo works to ease the suffering and shorten the sentence of those serving time in hell, to deliver the faithful into Amida’s western paradise (where inhabitants are no longer trapped in the six states of desire and karmic rebirth), and to answer the prayers of the living for health, success, children, and all manner of mundane petitions. In modern Japan, Jizo is a savior par excellence, a friend to all, never frightening even to children, and his/her many manifestations — often cute and cartoon-like in contemporary times — incorporate Taoist, Buddhist, and Shintō elements. (Courtesy onmarkproductions.