Do you know what Jizou is? If you go to Japan, you will see many Jizou in the street. Every Jizou has different looks and poses. There are many people taking pictures of Jizou because it is very unique to see them. Some of them wear clothing, hat, and so on like the picture above.
Jizou is sometimes called Ojizou sama or Ojizou san. This means just honorable words are added to Oizou. O and sama or san are honorable words, you will hear the Japanese people say this way too. Japanese people respect Jizou and pray for them! Let’s take a look at what Jizou is! （＾0＾）
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The meaning of Jizou
The name of Jizou(地蔵) originally came from Jizou Bosatsu(地蔵菩薩). Jizou Bosatsu is Ksitigarbha in Sanskrit. Ksitigarbha is a Bodhisattva and usually depicted as a Buddhist monk.
Ksiti means earth.
Garbha means womb.
So Ksitigarbha means the womb of the earth.
Jizou(地蔵)’ Ji(地) is earth in Kanji and zou(蔵) means contain or store in Kanji. Sometimes, the reason why Jizou is called Jizou is this way.
“Like the earth stores or contains a strength to grow all of lives, Jizou will save suffering people with the heart of infinite mercy.”
Now, do you see why the womb of the earth is? Next, let’s see why Jizou is everywhere in Japan! (‘-^*)
What is the point of Jizou?
As I said above, there are many Jizou everywhere in Japan. I don’t know how many of Jizou exist in Japan but you will see them everywhere you go in Japan. I was curious about the reason why there are many Jizou in Japan. The meaning of Jizou is so various. Sometimes, you see it in somebody’s property! I don’t know the meaning of that unless it is the owner of that Jizou! Jizou is also used for guiding not to get lost in somewhere neighborhood too. Have you seen Jizou while driving on the road? If those Jizou have many flowers or offerings, that means those Jizou are for somebody who passed away around there. For example, car accidents or so on. You can also get to see Jizou at temples. Now, you see there are many reasons why Jizou is everywhere in Japan. Let me show you some representative meaning of Jizou.
- Pray for enriching fields or crops.
- Pray for the well
- Pray for being reborn in heaven
- Pray for long longevity
- Pray for making wishes come true
- Pray for not having disasters
- Pray for removing harm
- Pray for not having nightmare
- Pray for coming home safe from trip
- Pray for meeting Buddha
- Pray for giving birth to children
- Pray for protecting children
Except for those above, Jizou takes our pain and suffering instead of us, protecting the boundary of villages, and so on. You see many reasons why Jizou are everywhere in Japan! It would be interesting and fun to see the Jizou in Japan! If you go to Japan, try to pay attention to Jizou! ヽ(･д･`ヽ三ﾉ´･д･)ﾉ
Look at this picture or picture above. Sometimes, Jizou wear clothing. On this picture, Jizou wears bibs! As I gave you some reasons what Jizou is for, Jizou is known for praying for children in Japan. Those Jizou tend to wear bibs or hats! That means to pray for the children growing up well. But why red color?
The answer is simple! the Japanese have a custom for red color. Red color means pureness, correction, and honest color. It also means prevention from evil. Not only Jizou, if you see Japanese traditional things, there are many red colors used. That is what it means!
But sometimes, you see Japanese put clothing on Jizou for no reasons. I saw the old Japanese ladies were putting clothing on Jizou for just looking cold! The day was winter and snowing so they were putting clothing on Jizou….. !!(●ω●;) That would happen sometimes!! I think that is kind to see, though! See it is fun to find out the meaning of Jizou, right? (´∀`∩)
The Jizou story “Sai no Kawara”
Do you know the story of Sai no Kawara(賽の河原)? This story is from edo period(1603-1868). Jizou is the hero of this story. The story is like this.
A young kid who passed away was piling stones up for his father and mother as wishing for their good fortune on the river of Sai(The river of Sai is not a real river. It is like purgatory. This river sits between real the world and the world which people who die goes to). All of sudden, Oni(Japanese evil that has two horns on their head.) came and knocked the kid’s stones off. Out of blue, Jizou came out and saved this kid.
The Jizou story 2 “Kasa Jizou”
I think this is most famous Jizou story in Japan. This is a Japanese fairly-tale. The story is like this.
The old husband and wife who were poor but had pure hearts are about to meet the New Year without having Mochi.(Mochi is rice cake.) To make money to buy Mochi, the old man went out to sell his Kasa(straw hat. You can see what it is on the picture, Kasa is also umbrella but not umbrella back then!). But he couldn’t sell his Kasa at all. While he was on the way to go home, a blizzard started. He was in a hurry to go home and found seven Jizou. He pitied on the seven Jizou and gave them his six Kasa. But one is short so he gave his gloves on last Jizou and went home.
That night, while the old husband and wife were sleeping, they heard the heavy sound outside of their house. When they went outside they found many foods and treasures. They got really surprised! They looked around and saw seven Jizou. Thanks to seven Jizou’s offerings, they could meet the New Year with food!
Jizou in temple or graveyard
Sometimes, you see six Jizou at the entrance of temples or graveyards. Those Jizou are usually six Jizou in a row. Those Jizou represent from Rokudou Rinne(endless circle of transmigration in the six posthumous worlds). This means wherever you will be born, Jizou would guide you to the right path.
Rokudou Rinne(六道輪廻) has six worlds.
|Ten Dou(天道)||This world has less pain than normal world has. Ease and comfort are more than pain.|
|Ningen Dou(人間道)||This world is in great trouble and hard pressed.|
|Shura Dou(修羅道)||This world is where people can't control their desires.|
|Chikushou Dou(畜生道)||This world is where the weak are victims of the strong. Selfishness rules this world.|
|Gaki Dou(餓鬼道)||This world is full of Jealousy, stinginess, and desire.|
|Jigoku Dou(地獄道)||Most painful world out of all.|
Rokudou Rinne expresses the status of existence. How you will be born is called Shishou(四生).
Shishou has four categories.
|Taishou(胎生)||A living thing that are from mother's womb.|
|Ranshou(卵生)||A living thing that are from egg.|
|Shishou(湿生)||A living thing that are from humid place like bugs.|
|Keshou(化生)||A living thing that are from nowhere and born.|
Rokudou Rinne and Shishou are called Rinne Tenshou(輪廻転生).
Rinne Tenshou is a cycle of life in Buddha world. They believe that our soul or spirit would come back from the world of death over and over.
Could you get to know Jizou? Jizou world is too deep! There are many kinds of Jizou and each Jizou has their own meaning! Do you know Jizou that are tied with ropes?? Do you know Jizou that blah blah bah! (o=゜▽゜)人(゜▽゜=o) This conversation will never stop!…. But I have to end it!
I hope this page helped you about knowing Jizou! (`･ｖ´･ )ﾉ＝☆・゜ See you later!