• Kyodo

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A gold-coated Buddha statue has been returned to Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto after being shipped to Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, which supplied uprooted Takata Matsubara pine trees to build it.

The 2.7-meter-tall statue of Dainichi Nyorai, a Buddha signifying the universe, was made of pieces from pine trees uprooted by the March 2011 tsunami.

Kiyomizu Temple had asked the Traditional Arts Super College of Kyoto to build the statue before the twin disasters struck, but afterward students decided to build it from pine trees in Rikuzentakata, collecting about 30 pieces of tsunami-wrecked trees.

More than 10,000 people helped to carve the statue by chisel, including Bhutan’s royal couple when they visited Kyoto last November.

The statue was sent to Rikuzentakata on April 26 to give disaster-hit residents a lift, as it was made from local pine trees. It is also viewed as a symbol of the shattered town’s regeneration.

About 20 of the students, who began building the statue last summer, Tuesday carried it into the main hall of Kiyomizu Temple, covered with a white cloth. Visitors and onlookers applauded as the cloth was removed, and a monk then recited a sutra.

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