Jizo statues are a common sight in Japan, especially in rural areas. Made of stone, these jizo statues are places of prayer and protection, often placed in roadside shrines or seen in or near cemeteries.

For his posthumously published photobook "Jizo Statues in Misato," photographer Itaru Hatta (1945-2023) researched and documented such Jizo statues in his home region of Misato in Japan's Mie Prefecture. Each page features a different jizo site, most of which are well-maintained, but many of which are forgotten and barely recognizable. Incorporating stories and information shared with him by Misato's aging residents, Hatta has created an invaluable and inspiring catalog of local folklore.

All text in Japanese and English.

“As I grew older and looked back on my hometown, I continued to communicate with the locals and noticed many Nobotoke [Buddha statues in the wilderness] in the area … There are also many ‘forgotten Buddhas’ that have been lost over time due to road replacements or lack of enshrinement. Many of the Buddhas featured in this book are such forgotten Buddhas. The local elders have told me about their benefits and legends, but these elders have been decreasing every year. I hope that this book will reach many people and help preserve the ‘forgotten Buddhas.’” ― from Itaru Hatta’s afterword.

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