THE STRANGE PRACTICE OF SELF MUMMIFICATION IN JAPAN CALLED SOKUSHINBUTSU
The Buddhist sect of Shingon in Japan follow a weird practice of self mummification where a monk mummifies himself through a rigorous process. The practice was first introduced by a priest named kuukai who is the founder of Shingon sect of Buddhism. The sect follows an idea of reaching enlightenment by inflicting pain and self punishment. The process of mummifying oneself takes more than 10 years. In the 1000 year history of Shingon sect around 24 people have been able to self mummify themselves though many have tried.
The process starts by eating only nuts and seeds for 1000 days, at the same time they go through tremendous physical activity eliminating fat completely from their bodies. For next 1000 days only roots and bark of trees are consumed. Then they begin drinking tea made from a poisonous plant which causes diarrhea which rapidly dries the body through vomiting and loose motions. It also makes their body poisonous which protects the body from maggot infestation once the person dies. Finally the monk will seal himself in the tomb with only a small inlet for air and a bell. He will seat himself in lotus position ringing the bell once a day to let the others know he is alive, the day he stops ringing the air inlet is sealed. After 1000 days the tomb is broken to see if the mummification is complete, if it is then he is considered as Buddha and the mummy is moved to the temple. The practice has been now outlawed in Japan.
An unusual green variety of sakura is called Gyoikou zakura, which literally means “yellow imperial garment cherry blossoms”. The name’s history refers to the green garments worn by aristocrats during the Heian Period (794-1185); however, the cherry blossom’s first cultivation dates back to the Edo period (1603–1867). Green sakura trees are scattered around Japan but they are elusive and not easily spotted due to the green flowers often mistaken as fresh new leaves. Green sakura are best viewed at the end of April.
1918 poster for the Osaka Mercantile Steamship Co., from the Japanese poster collection at our East Asian Library.
An incredible series of photographs of lightning falling on the very active Japanese volcano Sakurajima, made by photographer Martin Rietze, passionate by extraordinary natural phenomena. These pictures are part of his project ALPE (“Alien Landscapes on Planet Earth”).
HH: Thor Meets Vulcan
”Pigs and Papa”
Japanese photographer Toshiteru Yamaji has spent a decade snapping portraits of a rather unassuming farmer named Otchan. At first glance, the Kagawa-based man seems like a strange choice for a ten-year-long photo project, but Yamaji’s series, “Pigs and Papa,” dispels this misconception rather immediately.
Amazing susomawashi (裾回し, lining at hem)- the stripes remind me of baseball season!
This is called “tanbo art” (田んぼアート) or “rice paddy art”. There are no dyes to create the different colours and hues. Instead, farmers used various rice strains in their tanbo canvases.
Japanese Ama - diving well into their elder years