Thu, 15 Apr 2021

NAGASAKI, Japan, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- A huge bell donated by China's Fujian Province has been installed Friday in the belfry of a temple in Nagasaki City, southern Japan, as a symbol of peace and China-Japan friendship.

The World Peace Bell is about 1.2 meters in diameter, 2 meters high and weighs 2.5 tons. Due to its large weight, the installation process was relatively difficult. With the hard work of several dozen workers, the installation was completed around 3 p.m. local time (0600 GMT) at Kofukuji Temple.

The bell was designed by Wanfu Temple in Fujian, a Buddhist temple on Mount Huangbo in Fuqing in China's Fujian Province, in recognition of ties dating back more than 360 years.

In Japan's early Edo period, Chinese Zen master Ingen from Wanfu Temple was invited to Kofukuji Temple. Since then, the two temples have maintained exchanges.

Ingen is said to have introduced not only the teachings of the Buddha, but also Chinese architecture, sculpture, calligraphy, printing, painting, music, medicine and lifestyle to Japan, making outstanding contributions to the history of cultural exchanges between China and Japan.

Kofukuji Temple has not had a bell after giving up the one it had to the government during World War II. In 2019, Fujian Province decided to donate a new bell to Nagasaki to promote cultural exchanges and mutual learning between China and Japan.

The new bell, engraved with the Chinese characters meaning "world peace" to express the hope for amicable China-Japan relations, arrived in Nagasaki earlier this month.

It was carried by truck from the port of Nagasaki and carefully lifted onto the temple grounds by a crane.

Hodo Matsuo, priest of Kofukuji Temple, said he is truly happy that the bell has been installed, adding that he will tell his predecessor the war is finally over, and hopes to further deepen cultural exchanges between the two neighbors.

"It's a great pleasure and honor to have the huge bell," Matsuo said. "It's the symbol of peace between Japan and China, also Nagasaki and Fujian."

"We have to show the meaning of the bell to the world," he added.

Kofukuji Temple is the oldest and one of the most important Chinese-founded temples in Nagasaki, and boasts a long history dating from about the year of 1620. At that time, large numbers of Chinese merchants were coming to Nagasaki to trade.

The temple was originally set up as a place to pray for safe sea voyages for the merchants, and the construction was heavily influenced by Chinese architectural styles, making it different from other temples in Japan.

The temple grounds contain a number of buildings, including the main hall, a nationally designated Important Cultural Property.

The main hall was originally built in 1632 and is regarded as a fine example of Chinese-style architecture of the time. A celebrated and large glass lantern imported from China hangs from the roof of the main hall.

Located in the Nagasaki's Temple Town district, the temple is the birthplace of the Obaku sect of Zen Buddhism in Japan.

As one of several schools of Zen in Japanese Buddhism, the Obaku sect had a profound influence on Japanese society in the Edo period and played a pivotal role in the exchange and spread of East Asian civilization.

Matsuo said that even today, there are many things and habits in the life of the Japanese people that are closely related to master Ingen and the Obaku sect.

Nowadays, the Obaku culture has become a common cultural symbol and historical memory between China and Japan, providing an important platform for bilateral exchanges.

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