God's Silent Messenger   (2016-17)

English / 日本語

The Shinto-shrine is the place for worship in Japan. There is a pair of stone-carved guardian lion-dogs, called Komainu. Sometimes we see familiar animal statues enshrined at the gate of the shrine, instead of Komainu. I wonder why they are there as divine messengers.

 

Since ancient times, Japanese people have worshiped nature and animals. We see blessings, wonders, and awes-inspiring things there, and at the same time, we believe that they are protecting us.

 

Human beings are powerless before nature. We have built many things. Nuclear power plants are one type of them, but some of them were destroyed by tsunami. That caused destruction of nature and people can’t live the place anymore.

 

We have a saying, ‘The danger is past, and God forgotten.’  When a disaster happens, we take precautions against danger then, but we gradually forget the horrible experience.

 

Our feelings of the veneration for nature have been passed down from generation to generation, however, we forget about it through the progress of science and the process of modernization. We aren’t thinking about anything but only about ourselves. As a result, we brought the heavy environmental destruction.

 

The guardian animals in shrines might be asking us, ‘Are you really happy with this situation? Are you doing a right thing?’ I think God is trying to warn us that we should value the relationship with nature more.

 

Let’s think again about how we have been awed by nature, and the veneration for it is the knowledge that we have learned from our ancestors for more than two thousand years. 

I think we need to do something to get back the good balance with nature and humans for the next generation.

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A rabbit at Gassan Jinja Shrine, Yamagata
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Gassan Jinja Shrine, Yamagata
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A wild boar at Go-ou Jinja Shrine, Kyoto
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Go-ou Jinja Shrine, Kyoto
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Cats at Konoshima Jinja Shrine, Kyoto
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Cats at Konoshima Jinja Shrine, Kyoto
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Mouse at Ootoyo Jinja Shrine, Kyoto
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Mice at Ootoyo Jinja Shrine, Kyoto
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Rabbits at Tsuki Jinja Shrine, Saitama
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Tsuki Jinja Shrine, Saitama
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A deer at Tachiki Jinja Shrine, Shiga
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Tachiki Jinja Shrine, Shiga
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Pheasants at Ooyaba Hikawa Jinja Shrine, Saitama
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Pheasants at Ooyaba Hikawa Jinja Shrine, Saitama
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A pigeon at Miyake Hachiman Jinja Shrine, Kyoto
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Miyake Hachiman Jinja Shrine, Kyoto
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Information

inkjet print

print media: handmade Japanese paper (IseWashi 'IseHishi Husyo')

(1) Large size (A2) <edition number: 20>

      - media size: 630 x 420 mm (24.8 x 16.5 inch)

      - image size: 547 x 308 mm (21.5 x 12.1 inch)

(2) Small size (A3+) <edition number: 20>

      - media size: 483 x 328 mm (19.0 x 12.9 inch)

      - image size: 400 x 224 mm (15.7 x 8.8 inch)

Movie

© 2015-2019 Koji Murata all rights reserved

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Cats at Konoshima Jinja Shrine, Kyoto