The Angry Jizo
Of the several versions of The Angry Jizo, the best known is the 1979 picture book. In wartime Hiroshima, a young girl finds daily comfort as she visits the neighborhood Jizō stone statue. Jizō (Bodhisattva) icons can be found along the roadside as guardians of children and travellers; neighbors leave flowers as offerings. This Jizo always has a smile on his face. On August 6, the bomb explodes over Hiroshima. Amidst the dead and dying, the badly injured girl finds her way to the Jizō. She calls for Mother, and for water. The Jizō’s face shows his anger at human folly when his expression changes into that of a fierce guardian Niō statue. The Jizo sheds tears into the girl’s mouth in her last moments. In the end, the Jizō’s head crumbles into a million pieces.
By the late 1970s, older activists such as Yamaguchi and Shikoku keenly felt the need to pass down the experiences of the Asia Pacific war to younger generations with the message that war and nuclear bombings should not be repeated.