Arab News Japan
TOKYO: Two Japanese flags hang on both sides of the Togenuki Kogenji Buddhist temple in the Sugamo district, Tokyo on Sept. 20—a national holiday in Japan known as Respect for the Aged Day.
Elderly people and their families come to the temple to pray. Believers say the two Buddhist deities at the temple help the elderly. The divinity Togenuki Jizo who the faithful can see on the altar is believed to cure ailments and prolong life as in Japanese, “Togenuki” means “to remove the thorns.”
The other deity to the left of the temple is a representation of the goddess Kanon Arai, whom the devotees sprinkle with holy water.
A bystander told Arab News Japan that he came to water and clean the statue to relieve him of his lingering shoulder pain.
The Kogenji temple built in the 16th century is located a few minutes’ walk from Sugamo Station in an area that caters to the elderly.
Respect for the Aged Day has been changed from September 15th to the third Monday of September due to the start of the “Happy Monday” system.
The purpose of the holiday is to “increase understanding and interest in welfare for the elderly” and “cooperate and help people living in society to improve their lives by themselves.”
According to a population estimate released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the number of senior citizens aged 65 or older increased 220,000 to 36.4 million from the previous year. At the same time, one in four elderly people worked in the 2020 labour force survey. The proportion of senior citizens is increasing year by year, making it urgent to improve the working environment.
In terms of numbers, 15.83 million were elderly men and 20.57 million were women.