NARA--Priests from the venerated Todaiji temple and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine held a joint service on July 21 to remember the victims of last year's Great East Japan Earthquake and to pray for the rebuilding of the disaster-stricken areas.
Kokei Kitakawara, chief abbot of Todaiji, read out a prayer and priests of the temple chanted a Buddhist sutra at the Great Hall of the Buddha at Todaiji here.
Shigeho Yoshida, chief priest of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, presented a Shinto prayer and shrine maidens performed a traditional dance to pray for a calm ocean.
A junior chorus ensemble from Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, sang the popular school song "Furusato" (Hometown).
The close ties between Todaiji and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu date back 800 years to the Kamakura Period (1192-1333).
Minamoto no Yoritomo, who assumed the title of shogun in 1192 to lead Japan's first warrior government based in Kamakura, provided financial and other support to the monk Chogen who was trying to rebuild Todaiji after it was burned by forces close to the rival Taira clan.
A special exhibition titled "Shogun Yoritomo and the Monk Chogen: Bonding Kamakura and Nara for the Revival of Todaiji" is being held at the Nara National Museum until Sept. 17. The exhibition is organized by the museum, Todaiji, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu and The Asahi Shimbun.
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