Nimenseki: Statue with two faces of good vs. evil

JAPANESE MYTHOLOGY & FOLKLORE

Nimenseki: Two faces of Good & Evil Nimenseki: Two faces of Good & Evil

There is in Nara’s Asuka village, a stone called “Nimen-seki” with the two faces of good and evil carved back to back. It is one of the ancient strange stones in the now famous and much visited historic village. The stone is located at Tachibanadera in Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun. Tachibanadera is a temple of Tendai Sect. Its formal name is “Butto-zan Jogu Oin Bodaiji Temple.” According to the temple tradition, the name “Tachibana (mandarin orange tree)” refers to the story that Emperor Suinin sent Tajima-mori to Hitachi province (present Ibaraki Prefecture) to fetch the everlasting fruit of the mandarin orange tree, and who returned with some which were planted at this place. The temple site is also famous for the other historical reason that it was where Emperor Yomei’s detached palace, Tachibana Palace, was located and where Prince Shotoku was born. The temple is…

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