fot. ryne adnerson,

Sendai Daikannon in Japan. The statue measures as much as 100 metres!

A monumental Buddhist monument in the Japanese city of Sendai has been a source of awe for residents and visitors for years. The monument towers over a housing estate built in the 1960s. It is up to 100 metres high and contains 12 inner tiers. The monument formally known as Sendai Daikannon lived to see its renovation this year

Although the monument is associated with Buddhism, it does not depict Buddha. The immortalised figure is Guanyin, the goddess of mercy or, in other words, a woman aspiring to Buddha state. It is the second tallest monument in Japan just after Ushiku Daibutsu. In the ranking of the tallest monuments in the world, it ranks sixth. In comparison, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro measures just 38 metres

The statue has many elements related to Buddhist symbolism. Traditional inscriptions, a jewel measuring 3 metres and a 2-metre-long water bottle can be seen on it. The jewel is believed to grant wishes. The bottle, on the other hand, “pours out” wisdom. The monument is also a building and, inside, it conceals twelve inner storeys where all sorts of Buddhist artefacts can be found. On the ground floor are 33 sculptures depicting the various forms the goddess takes. On the other hand, statues of demons are placed at the central core of the building. One for each month of the Chinese calendar

The history of the monument dates back to the 1960s. Futaba Group, a developer, started to build a housing estate on the site. The company’s founder, Kubara, decided to give thanks to the Buddhist goddess for the success of his company. Therefore, along with the construction of the housing estate, he also started building a monument. The monument was completed in 1991, for the centenary of the granting of Sendai’s municipal rights. At first, the residents of the area were horrified by the colossal building, seemingly incongruous with the housing estate. Over time, however, they came to like the Sendai Daikannon. The building is visible from all over the city and has become its symbol attracting tourists

photo by Hideyuki KAMON, wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Interestingly, apart from the initial protests of the residents, there is another controversial issue associated with the monument. Shortly after its construction, the building was found to interfere with the analogue TV signal. The building even ‘appeared’ in several films. Every year, the Sendai Daikannon attracts many Buddhist followers and tourists from all over the world

In March 2023, renovation of the monument was carried out. Setting up scaffolding proved to be too expensive, so workers were hired for the task, who carried out the repair work by hanging on ropes. An experienced team repainted the monument white and patched the cracks. The cost of the restoration was 200 million yen, or about PLN 5 611 000


Also read: Japan | Sacred architecture | Interesting facts | History | whiteMAD on Instagram

Latest content on the site

Beauty is all around you