Days Gone By,  Hidden Treasures,  Landmarks,  Streetscapes

Hiroshima Statue Resides Next to New York Buddhist Temple

Outside the New York Buddhist Temple at 331-332 Riverside Drive stands a large, 22-ton bronze figure, complete with a large, circular hat. It is Shinran Shonin, who, according to the Church’s website, founded Shin Buddhism in the 1200’s in Japan. Shin Buddhism focuses on listening, openness to enlightenment, living humbly and with gratitude, and appreciating life.

But back to the statue. It was one of a set of six ordered by a Japanese businessman before World War Two. This monument had a providential escape from likely destruction during the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima.  When the US B-29 Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb that August, this statue stood only a mile and a half from the center of the blast. Miraculously, it remained unharmed. From a close range, it saw the demolition of the vast majority of Hiroshima’s buildings and the loss of many of its people.

In September 1955, a Japanese businessman donated the statue to the New York Buddhist Church. It served as a token of peace and healing. The date of its dedication and unveiling was 09/11. The plaque beneath the Japanese traveler reads “a testimonial to the atomic bomb devastation and a symbol of lasting hope for world peace.” Well worth a visit, the monument can be seen on Riverside Drive between 105th and 106th Streets.

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