I am pleased to announce that, finally, this is the last entry (part 4) of the Buddhist Guardian series. I am sure that all of you guys are relieved to hear that.

He is "The last Statue Standing", named Abatsumara (阿跋摩羅), one of the four Guardians at Yashamon Gate (夜叉門) of Taiyuin (大猷院) at the World Heritage site in Nikko city, Tochigi Prefecture. Taiyuin is a Buddhist temple at which the 3rd Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu Tokugawa (徳川家光) is worshipped.

Abatsumara is not as explicit as Kendara, but more than Bidara and Umarokya. Like Kendara, his knees are naked, whereas in the case of Bidara and Umarokya, their knees have companion kneepads of catfish and elephant, respectively.

He holds a golden stick in his right hand as a weapon and his left forefinger is pointing upward (toward heaven?). I am not sure of the significance of this pose...

Let's take a closer look at him.

Close-up view of his face
Close-up view of his waist

His orange hair is all standing up. Unlike others, he has no fierce fangs but shining white teeth. Well, his eyebrows need to be trimmed... Note the skin of white tiger around his waist. It's a unique feature of him. He does not have a pair of shoes.

He's a guardian of the "East".

Before ending this series, I would like to mention the background, which is carved with flowers. Can you tell what these flowers are?
Lower one is covered with Goldl!!!
They are all Peonies that appear behind all of the four statues. I am not certain why peony was chosen. Anyway, based on that, Yashamon Gate is also called Botanmon gate (牡丹門; Botan - Peony, Mon - Gate).

Tokugawa Clan's Emblem
Can you see the emblem above? I know it's hard to find but it is the emblem (家紋) of the Tokugawa clan (徳川氏).

All right. That's it!

Thanks for your patience.

This is a Alphabe-Thursday entry. "N" is for Nikko.

If you haven't seen his friends, be prepared to be thrilled!



  1. wow.... thats for the information, now i am more eager to visit japan even for 5 days. this shall be my introduction trip, the next one will be longer and will venture out areas.

  2. I have really enjoyed these posts! Fascinating information/history and your photos are superb as always, Yoshi! I'm looking forward to what you'll share with us next!! Hope your week is going well!


  3. This is my first sighting of the Buddhas. I looked at the others and loved the colors and the drama. Very different from the traditional Buddha. If you find others down the line, I hope you will post them.

  4. Oooo, I'm glad I popped over here because I missed this whole series! Now I've got to back track, lol. VERY interesting posts! Great info and wonderful pics!

  5. Thank you for the explanation here and on my site, it makes better sense to me now. Nice series you had and taught me something new!

  6. On the contrary, I found your post informative and entertaining and the photography is as always very well done, Thanks!

  7. Ok....that was just plain scary! When you said to look at him....I couldn't...ha.

  8. This is one of the coolest posts ever! Very informative, colorful and wonderful!

  9. Hello! I'm jumping over here from Sylvia's blog. What fun to see your photos of Japan since we've been there several times. I'm going to take a stroll through your posts and enjoy the memories.

  10. He is a green monster, really scary :)
    I like all the four guards photos, they are very interesting for me.

  11. We is a little scary. I am not sure if is his expression or the green color of his skin.

  12. I love this post! I just discovered your blog from Alphabe-Thursday! I live in Japan too! It's so much fun to learn about these guardian statues from you because I don't know anything about them :) Going to follow you now!

  13. Hi Yoshi
    these posts have been pure enjoyment. I think Abatsumara my be my favorite of the guardians as I like his spiked hair and white teeth. and his waist is very beautiful. while viewing the other guardians I was enamored of the flowers in the background. I was thinking they were dahlias, but it is now evident that they are peonies. which happen to be one of my favorite flowers, mostly for their fragrance. this edification has been delightful. and I do still see the guardians as a bit comical but take their symbolic significance very seriously! thank you very much Yoshi.

  14. For some reason beautiful is the first word that came to mind. I guess it's beautiful in it's own way. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Hi Yoshi, This is quite an interesting project (I back tracked). I think it's all very informative and the colours are so vivid.

  16. They all have really cool poses! :)

  17. Oh my goodness. What a fascinating stop on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's letter "N".

    I was enchanted with your descriptions and images.

    It's fascinating to read about other cultures and one of the niftiest things about blogging!

    Thanks for this neat post.



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