Meeting the Manga Jizo


Do you dream of becoming a manga artist? If so, there's someone you should visit who might just give you the luck you need to make it happen. 
A monk at Kongo-in Temple points out a very interesting statute. 

Traveling through Japan, you may have noticed statues of a Buddhist monk with a peaceful smile. He may be wearing a red bib or carrying a staff in his right hand and a small wish-fulfilling jewel called a nyoihoju in his left. This is Jizo. In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, Jizo is regarded as the protector of children. However, the Jizo at Kongo-in, a lovely temple located one stop away from Ikebukuro Station in Toshima Ward, is looking out for a different group of people. 

Who? When you go to visit, pay close attention to this little guy. His wardrobe gives you important clues. His staff has been replaced with a fountain pen and his robes are decorated with comic book panels complete with speech bubbles and sound effects. Fans of the game Dragon Quest might look at the smiling blob in in his left hand and think of the character Slime, but it’s actually a cheerful version of Jizo’s wish-filling jewel. Lastly, rather than a halo of light, Jizo is ensconced by a pen nib.
The usual trappings of the Jizo have been replaced with a manga artist's tools.

You’ve probably figured it out by now, but Kongo-in’s Jizo is the manga Jizo, offering protection and spiritual guidance for all aspiring artists as well as anyone who works in a creative field. 

But why does Kongo-in have a manga Jizo? Despite Akihabara’s high name recognition as the center of otaku subculture, Toshima Ward is considered the origin of Japanese manga. From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, some of Japan’s most famous manga artists such as Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy, and Fujiko Fujio, creator of Doraemon, lived in the same apartment building: the Tokiwa-so. While then young and unknown, these artists shaped the way in which manga is produced during the time they lived in Tokiwa-so. Considering that Kongo-in is located near the site of Tokiwa-so, it’s an appropriate spot for the home of the manga Jizo. 
Read more about Tokiwaso and the surrounding area on DiGJAPAN! ■Read more about Tokiwaso and the surrounding area on DiGJAPAN!
◇Manga Pilgrimage to Tokiwaso, Legendary Home of Astro Boy and Doraemon Creators   
◇Zoshigaya: Follow the Owls to Another Hidden Gem in Tokyo    

The manga Jizo is a nadebutsu, meaning you are encouraged to touch him for good luck. Give his head a pat to get your creative juices flowing! 


Kongo-in Temple | 金剛院

1-9-2 Nagasaki, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 

Approx. 1 min walk from Shiinamachi Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line)


Liked this story? Like DiGJAPAN!
on Facebook for daily updates!