“Konnyaku Enma”, Genkakuji TempleTOYO
“Konnyaku Enma”, Genkakuji Temple is a historic temple founded about 400 years ago. The principle object of worship at this temple is Amida triad. It was worshipped by Tokugawa Shoguns like Hidetada and Iemitsu in the Edo period.
The reason that Genkakuji is called “Konnyaku Enma” is this wooden sitting statue of Enma from the Kamakura Period.
In the middle of 18th century, there was an old woman suffering from eye disease. She was very religious and prayed to Enma for the cure giving up her favorite food, konnyaku. Enma granted the old woman her wish and gave her his right eye. And then, her sight got well quickly. After that, she kept offering konnyaku to Enma for showing her appreciation.
Since then, Enma at Genkakuji has been called “Konnyaku Enma” and worshipped widely for healing eye disease. When you take a close look at the statue, you find his right eye dull yellow colored, which is based on this folk tale.
Konnyaku is not only a food but also symbolizes “Konyaku” which means misfortune. People offer konnyaku today to avoid misfortune.
Please drop by “The Pan Pacific Temple Bell” when you visit “Konnyaku Enma.” This bell was casted in 1690 and had been a symbol of the temple for a long time. However, the belfry was burned down by the great fire of 1844. Since then, the bell had not had belfry for a long time.
In 1937, the bell was stored in the new belfry built at Nanyoji Temple in Saipan. It got lost during WWII, and it was found in Odessa, Texas in 1965. And the bell crossed the ocean and finally came back home in 1974. It rings on the anniversary of the end of WWII and New Year’s Eve as a symbol of peace.
You can feel the history and folklore at Genkakuji in the middle of the city. Please stroll around this power spot to receive blessing.
Sept. 2019 Text: Ryoko Kuraishi Photo: Yasuo Yamaguchi