Those who’ve been following (for example) Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha graphic novel and its film adaptation, or Deepak Chopra’s “Buddha” comic book, know that it’s not so new to mix Buddhism and comics. But it does seem to work, and one Buddhist temple is getting in on the act. As Culture Clash Daily reports:
This month [Japan's Ryohoji] Temple unveiled its new “moe Buddhist [signboard],” [rendered in an animation-based style] combining modern and ancient art. [This development came about after the temple's chief priest, Shoko Nakazato] displayed a picture of “moe” outside the temple to welcome passers by. Moe is a traditional Japanese slang word often for a young girl, and associated with innocence, love and caring.
According to Shoko Nakazato, young people and the media have been flocking to the temple ever since. (The temple’s website takes a similar approach, also depicting and blending moe and Buddhist imagery.) But as one visitor told The Japan Times, “I’m afraid that the temple will end up being just a mecca for fans of manga and anime, which is probably not the temple’s intention.” As for the artist behind the sign? She says that while she “was initially worried she might be doing something ‘indiscreet,’” [she] concluded that even if the sign was controversial, it might lead people to visit the temple and think about religion.”
The temple website: