lifestyle

Japanese women go gaga over Buddha boys

31 Comments
By Patrick W Galbraith

Next time your girlfriend wants to go see a statue of Buddha, be aware that she might have an ideal man on her mind. No, not you. Buddha.

The Japanese media is famous for creating categories to describe people and trends, like “soshoku danshi" (herbivore boys), who are more interested in hobbies than the opposite sex. Now, we have the "bosatsu danshi," or Buddha boy.

The Buddha boy is not about loving the belly. Literally, a "bosatsu" is a Bodhisattva, or enlightened being, which in statuary form are often rather thin and intense-looking. A "bosatsu danshi" likewise “has a beautiful face, smooth skin, slim body, but is not too feminine. Theirs is an attractiveness and sensuality beyond mere sex and age.”

That description is from the Jan 20 issue of women’s magazine An-an, which provides real-life Buddha boy examples — actors Masaya Kikawada, Go Ayano and Yoshihiko Hosoda.

The trend has become a boon for "bosatsu" statues and the museums displaying them. This is part of a larger fad, too. Jun Miura, the man credited with coining the phrase “my boom” in Japanese, is also known for striking up new interest in "bosatsu," particularly the god of chaos known as Ashura.

Take for example “National Treasures, The Ashura Exhibition,” held at the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno last summer, where the main attraction was an Ashura statue from Nara’s renowned Kofuku-ji temple. Ashura often appears rather menacing, but this one had a benign look on his face — almost like he felt sorry for the strife of the world. Fans also noted that his body resembled that of Keita Goto, the 18-year-old winner of the inaugural “Ashura Award” in Junon magazine’s Super Boy Contest. Nearly a million people came to see the TNM show, and the lines were so long and the venue so crowded that opening hours were extended.

Not satisfied with just seeing the statue, visitors flocked to the gift shop, where the prize item was an Ashura statuette created by renowned figure maker Kaiyodo. The run was limited to 15,000, and visitors could only buy one each, but the 2,980 yen figures sold out in two weeks. They now regularly fetch over 10,000 yen in online auctions.

Buddha is also popping up in more unexpected places. The cover of Brutus magazine last April. The number five spot on Nikkei Trendy’s Best of 2009. In the Mixi Ashura Community. In something akin to a pin-up girl calendar, popular with middle-aged office ladies for its “soothing properties.”

And in manga. No, not Osamu Tezuka's "Buddha," but Buddha as a hot young man living as a poor bachelor in the suburbs of Tokyo with a Jesus Christ who thinks he looks like Johnny Depp. This is "Saint Young Men," a manga by young female artist Hikaru Nakamura that has morphed from a one-shot gag into a cultural phenomenon. Volume 4, released last October, sold 321,000 copies in one week, topped the Oricon Biz comics ranking the following month, and was voted to the number one spot in This Manga is Incredible 2009. It also won the 13th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Award in the Short Story category.

Who ever thought Buddha, the guy who quit life, could be so sexy and successful?

For more info about Kaiyodo’s Ashura figure, see www.kaiyodo.co.jp/asyura.

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


31 Comments
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Just when I thought I understood everything about Japan, along comes this article.

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whoof, I decide to lose my precious time and image-googled all the boys mentioned in the article. My conclusion is that 99% of Japanese girls are lesbians, that's the only explanation for them to be in love with boys who look like women.

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Just when I thought I understood everything about Japan, along comes this article.

The author is a PhD student in Otaku studies (I am not joking) so make of this article what you will.

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I'm sure his mother is very proud of him!

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"Who ever thought Buddha, the guy who quit life, could be so sexy and successful?"

They've found a way of marketing all the losers out there. There girls are in for a big shock when they find their quitter isn't quite as enlightened as the real thing.

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Japan takes the gold, silver and bronze in shallow expectations. It is a wonder anyone manages to hook up and have a healthy relationship. Even if they do, see today's other twisted article, J-housewives are counting the day until hubby dies. Or the poor sod is just relegated to income provider.

Japan deserves to have declining population and all that comes with it. You don't fight the work and social issues that keep you fron developing healthy families, too many of you base relationships or pure practicality instead of on foundations of trust, love and mutual respect. And now you have all these idiotic categories of guys and girls that are almost impossible to match into anything meaningful.

Pull your heads out of the sand people and realize just how sick this culture is becoming. What ever happened to liking that guy or girl because she makes you feel good inside, makes you smile, stresses you out but you love him/her anyway? Do you even remember what natural love is?

Sad...

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tkoind2: I share your views - personal relations in Japan are sad.

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LOL

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It IS good propaganda. Making people see, and turn towards a love. However, the truth being that Buddha's was a self-serving love. Buddha never talks about the love of a couple, so I agree with LostinNagoya that a lot of the women must be lesbian orientated.

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So which is it? Buddha boys or Herbivores? Yesterday they were borderline women picked on because they're not the 'meat eaters' their fathers are, and now the same people are being fawned over for their thinness and omnisexual appearance?

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the truth being that Buddha's was a self-serving love.

I totally disagree. A major tenet of Buddhism is the concept of compassion, i.e. expressing unconditional love towards others. If you do think Buddhism is about self-serving love, you are going to have to explain such a sweeping statement.

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The Japanese youth is even more nuts than their parents had been as they were younger.

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Wow! so silly.

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I prefer the heavy metal Jesus look

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Japanese women go gaga

Gogaga women and go-Budda boys.

What next? Maybe gaga mama's will go gaga for jijipapa men? Get the Jwomen all lathered up and you call sell anything.

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wut?

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Why does everyone take this article so seriously? It is just another category that magazines made up to sell magazines. Most Japanese people are probably not even familiar with this term or what it means.

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Ok so this article is for men only???

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Lala Land stuff again.

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A “bosatsu danshi” likewise “has a beautiful face, smooth skin, slim body, but is not too feminine.

Sounds like the time for skinny, white guys has come!

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Sounds like the time for skinny, white guys has come!

Revenge of the nerds all over again!

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LOL

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Time for the Rock Jocks! Yes! Leather and steel.

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Japanese women go gaga over Buddha boys

it must be time to brush off my "Dalai Lama world Tour 2007" t-shirt.

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I'll bet the Dalai Lama wouldn't mind having thousands of screaming young Japanese women as fans.

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wow, i actually have the manga "Saint young men". That one is pretty popular in Japan. Last summer a japanese friend recommended it to me:-)

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haha

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For me, give me a devout Muslim only.

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For Japanese women the less masculine image of Bodhisattva or Asura may be a mascot boy rather than a saintly icon. I'm not sure if it has any deeper meaning than that, such as the reflection of their own mind like misandry or some repressed feelings. In their comic artist type of imagination, Judas was forgiven by buying five indulgences issued by Jesus and is now living with other apostles in mutual trust and aid like Arashi. So perhaps Muhammad may also get to have a liking for Bosatsu statues and go along with Jesus to buy Asura's figures in Akihabara.

BTW, it's Goto Sota, not Goto Keita. The latter was a leading figure in the business world and also famous for his collection of stone images of Buddha. You can see them at his art museum (the Gotoh Museum) in Kaminoge, Setagaya.

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Japanese women go gaga over Buddha boys

And this boom too shall pass....

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I thought Japanese women were hung up on Mister Donut until I read this article. I am not sure anymore who they are hung up on but I can nonetheless imagine that no matter which one they marry, they end up hanging him out to dry while waiting for his death, at least another article implies that.

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