CNNGo reported today about the Ryohoji Temple in Hachioji, which has become an anime temple. That’s right: anime temple, complete with a theme song, anime character, monks praying to the anime character, and…a maid cafe.
The 16th century temple began its transformation when the chief monk tried to get young people to come to it.
Since then though, the temple has become known as “Moe-dera” (“newly budding temple”), a reference to “moe” — a feeling of attraction to a blossoming young girl, usually a manga character — while “dera” means “temple.
I’ve gotta say…I think I’m only surprised because of my personal connections with my faith, which I take seriously (sometimes too seriously). In Japan, religion is a “practical religion,” with plenty of room for syncretism and, in this case, the inclusion of pop culture. In other words, this is soooo Japan.
Edit: I’m apparently years behind on discovering this. Please forgive me. 😛