|Trendy Japanese #32:
Japan's capital city is Tokyo, of course, but a long, long time ago it was Nara. Nara is located in the southern-central region of Japan's mainland, and was Japan's capital city from 710 to 784 A.D. During this time, Buddhist culture flourished in the city, in the form of many kinds of art and buildings.
2010 will be the 1,300th anniversary of the capital's relocation to Nara. So a special association has been established to prepare the celebratory events. The association introduced an official character “Sentokun” in spring, expecting it to be popular and promotion-effective. However, as soon as Sentokun was presented to the public, it came in for a lot of criticism.
So, what was wrong? The main criticisms were about Sentokun's look ── it's an old-time Japanese boy figure with a bald head and two deer horns sticking up(Nara is famous for deers)! Many people thought Sentokun was ugly. Some Buddhist monks said that the boy looked like Buddha and so was violating the image of Buddha.
However, now that Sentokun has had a lot of exposure in the media, it looks like more and more people are getting used to his looks … and even getting to like him! The association went through some hard times, but are now happy that Sentokun has become much more popular than they'd expected. If you happen to visit Nara in 2010, please check out Sentokun and remember his days of hardship.