Enku in the northern lands
Enku (1632–1695) was a monk who traveled throughout Japan, carving statues of the Buddha for the common folk. Born in Gifu in western Japan, Enku became a monk in his thirties and set out for Aomori at the northernmost tip of Honshu, and then on toward Hokkaido, with the aim of carving 120,000 statues of the Buddha. It is believed that Enku’s motivation for traveling to Hokkaido was to carve Buddha statues for those who were without Buddhism. Here we will introduce the charm and appreciation of his art, guided by manga artists and creators as well as scholars of Enku’s work.