Aug 18, 2009
The mysterious Ojizosama statues in Japan
One of the things you’ll commonly come across in Japan are little statues, usually dressed in a red bib, called Ojizo-sama. They tend to be small and can be usually found along roadsides, around temples, and in cemeteries. So what do they mean? The ojizosama statues are one of the most popular Japanese divinities and are seen as the guardian of children (note their baby-like faces), particularly of children who died before their parents. What tourists usually find amusing are the red bibs that are commonly seen hanging on the statues. This practice is said to have begun when grieving parents put their child’s bib on the statue in hopes it would protect the child in the other world. Sometimes they even put toys and cartoon figurines around ojizosama, who are also said to be protecting children from illness.
The Japanese believe that all living and non-living things have a life and soul. That’s why they often dress up ojizosama statues in hats or some other type of clothing to protect them from cold weather. Ojizosama are also believed to protect firefighters and travellers. Thus, these statues can be even seen along lone roads. Particularly in Kyoto, there are something over 5000 of ojizosama statues.