Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Strange Torii

Torii, the traditional gate sculpture (originally a kind of door frame made from wood and painted orange, but now often granite or concrete and sometimes painted white), is a fixture of shrines in Japan. If you see one, it's almost always at the front of a shrine building or grounds. Which is why I was so confused recently when I was walking down Terukuni Street near Perth Street, and I found the above torii sitting at the end of a short block right next to an NHK station building. While the broadcasting tower implies that NHK wants the country to worship it (unsurprising given its "priests", who go door to door demanding "voluntary donations" to pay for watching public broadcasts on TV), I'm thinking that this torii pre-dates the tower. It's most likely that there had been a shrine here at one point but it was either torn down or moved to make way for the current building. Whatever name had been on the torii is no longer there, either.

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