Discover India in Japan : Kanda Myojin Shrine near Akihabara

Buddhism carried many ideas from India to Japan and its easy to find many of those even today in the most interesting places. Akihabara is the place for geeks, anime, electronics and what not, but just a five minute walk is a thousand year old shrine The Kanda Myojin where we found the Indian God Mahakaal statue.
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Source Wikipedia : In Hinduism, Mahakaal is a name of God Shiva. Religion interpretations are a function of time and place and Japan which refers to Mahakaal as Daikokuten has gone a lot of transformation in the process. It’s a very approachable and friendly representation of Mahakaal in Japan 🙂
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In the western part of Japan it is represented in black, looks ferocious but as we move to the eastern side he has transformed into a smiling representation and part of the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan. Kanda Shrine is a popular place for businessmen and entrepreneurs to pray for wealth and prosperity.
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The Hindu depiction is of a god of great darkness or blackness, just as all colors are absorbed and dissolved into black, all names and forms are said to melt into those of Mahakala, symbolizing his all-embracing, comprehensive nature. Black can also represent the total absence of color, and again in this case it signifies the nature of Mahakala as ultimate or absolute reality. This principle is known in Sanskrit as “nirguna”, beyond all quality and form, and it is typified by both interpretations.
In Japan, Daikoku is considered to be the god of wealth, or of the household, particularly the kitchen. He is recognised by his wide face, smile, and a flat black hat. The Kanda Myojin Shrine statue is one perfect example of this representation.
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The Gate of the Kanda Myojin, the two-storey main gate, Zuishin-mon marks the entrance to Kanda Shrine.
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We visited Kanda Shrine for the new year prayers, and usually in the mid of January (10-12 January) is the Daikoku Matsuri (Festival for Mahakaal if we translate it loosely) where visitors come to secure good luck for the year ahead.
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12 Comments

  1. Mahesh

    Reply

    Thanks for this article. Just a unique way to see the shrines in Japan, which otherwise gets boring soon without the background info

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