JAPAN - Shrine Debuts a Buddhist Robot

Arno Froese

Kyoto, Japan’s ancient former capital, is home to temples, shrines, and imperial gardens. As the birthplace of Japanese tradition, the city attracts some 53 million tourists every year.

Recently, the famed 400-year old Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto unveiled a modern makeover. The world’s first sutra-chanting android deity, modeled after Kannon the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, was introduced to the public. Kannon is worshiped by thousands of temples in Japan as a deity who helps people in distress; now the country’s fascination with robotics has made its way into that worship.

The resulting android version of Kannon, named “Mindar,” stands on a pedestal at 195 centimeters tall (6 feet, 4 inches), weighs 60 kilograms, and is made with silicon and aluminum. Like many of Ishiguro’s popular telenoid robots, Mindar takes a gender-neutral human form. The appearance is kept to a bare minimum—almost like a naked robot. But as an android embodying the Goddess of Mercy, Mindar had special features designed to evoke both feminine and masculine qualities. With an open head of exposed aluminum wires and a mechanical lower half, Mindar might not be how some would picture a robotic Kannon. However, the plain facial features give room for visitors to use their own imagination in how they’d like the deity to appear.

The “Kannon android can convey very complicated messages to visitors, which makes it easier for them to listen to the message,” Ogawa explains. “Visitors feel as if the robot and the person projected on the screen are making a real-time interaction.”

“The Heart Sutra should encourage people to solve problems on their own and give people the opportunity to think about what the problem is. We can give visitors the chance to start reflecting on themselves,” he adds.

-thediplomat.com, 5 March 2019

Arno's commentary

Japan is considered one of the most successful countries in the world. Income is high, poverty is low, and crime is almost non-existent, when compared to the USA for example. The population was listed at over 120 million in July 2018. It is a country dominated by Shintoism and Buddhism, with only 1.5% Christian. As a major nation, Japan has by far the highest life expectancy at 85.8 years, and per capita GDP stands at $43,000.

Not surprisingly, this high-tech nation is first to produce a high-tech idol. The image (robot) is so convincing that the article states, “Visitors feel as if the robot and the person projected on the screen are making a real-time interaction.”

While Christianity would reject such a religious technology demonstration, we must not forget that the Western media capability is already indoctrinating the masses of Christians to follow in the footsteps of a manmade idol. Eventually, it will lead to the fulfillment of Revelation 13:14: “And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

Read more from this author

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety