>> Candle Night in Solviva Organic Farm--Lights of Soil, Lights of Winds
>> Turn off the Lights and Watch the Stars on October 17--Lights-Down Event in Kofu Valley
>> Candle Night Summer Solstice 2009--Report on June 21
>> Event report: Dim It 2009--Hong Kong
>> Enjoy the Starlight--The International Year of Astronomy 2009
>> Event: 'Dim It' in Hong Kong-- Lights-out Event on June 21 (Updated)
>> Many People Enjoyed Candle Night--Candle Night Saskatchewan, Canada
>> Brief Report on Candle Night December 2008
>> Candle Night in Slovenia--Event Report in December 2009
>> Candle Night in Zenryouji Temple--'Go home make a wish'
>> Recreating Ancient Night of 'Heian' Dynasty--Lights-down at Kyoto Gyoen Forests
>> Event Report: Dim It--Hong Kong
>> Event Report: Lights Out Day in China
>> Event Report: Lights Out Day--Taiwan
>> Event Report: Candle Night Korea
>> Over 65,000 Facilities to Join--MOE's Lights Down Campaign
>> Event Update: Candle Night Korea
>> Brief Report of Candle Night Winter Solstice 2007
>> Artist's Performances--Candle Night in Governador Valadares, Brazil
>> Getting the Candle Night Message Across to the World--Fuji Xerox Co.
>> A Family's Wishes on Candle Night--The Story of Ivory
>> Effects of MOE's "Lights Down" Campaign June 2007
>> Candle Night in Taipei 2007
>> Candle Night Summer Solstice 2007 in Tokyo
>> MOE's 'Lights Down Campaign'--Black Illumination 2007
>> Mauritius held the 2nd Candle Night.
>> "Five-minute Action" took place in Europe, Feb 1, 2007
>> Reports from Overseas--December 2006
>> Candle Night Winter Solstice 2006--Kobe, Japan
>> Preparation also Underway in Candlelight--South Korea Winter 2006
>> A Brief Report of Candle Night Summer Solstice 2006
>> MOE's Black Illumination 2006
>> National Candle Night in Mauritius 2006
>> Milk Carton Lanterns Lighting up Kumamoto
>> Beeswax candle workshop and volunteer meeting at JFS
>> Candle Night Winter Solstice 2006--Rikkyo University
>> A Living Organism--Candle Night in Sapporo 2005
>> Candle Night in Shanghai 2005
>> Greetings to Candle Nighters on the other side of the world.
>> Candle Night in South Korea 2005
>> Candle Night at Harajuku Cat Street
>> 'Candle Night'-Summer Solstice 2004 in Japan

Candle Night in Zenryouji Temple--'Go home make a wish'

Event Report

Candle Night in Zenryouji Temple--'Go home make a wish'
--fish carrying a light of life

Zenryouji in the Totsuka Ward of Yokohama City, Japan, was founded in 1233. It is a temple of Jodo Shinshu, known as Pure Land Buddhism, a Honganji School. On December 19, 2008, right before the winter solstice in Japan, Candle Night in Zenryouji was held in the precinct and main hall of the temple.

Visitors were welcomed by soft light from many candles that were placed along the gentle slope from the street to the temple. In the precinct, students and local people set up booths to sell hot drinks. With the lights down in the main hall, many people got together and enjoyed live acoustic music and a live talk show.

The event was organized by the Cafe Dela Terra. "Terra" means "temple" in Japanese and "mother Earth" in Italian. They hope that the temple can serve like a cafe and connect people. The members are Tomonobu Narita, the chief priest of Zenryouji, Shinichi Tsuji, a professor at Meiji Gakuin University and a key promoter of Candle Night, students at Meiji Gakuin University, and people from the local Totsuka merchants association. Candle Night was held at the temple on the winter solstice of 2007 and on the summer solstice of 2008, reflecting the hope of everyone to expand the movement from the temple to many more places.

Narita has been actively promoting the partnership between the community and Candle Night. He says, "Traditionally, candles go along with the temples. But I don't want them to be just a decoration at a shiny Buddhist altar. I am hoping to bring back the original form of temples, a place where people can feel free to get together. Tsuji promotes the connection between temples and Candle Night saying, "Temples used to be the center of culture. I hope we can use their functions more and connect thousands of temples across Japan."

The theme of the third Candle Night was "go home make a wish--fish carrying a light of life."

The live talk show titled "What is happiness?" was joined by Tsuji and Masato Ogata, a fisherman in Shiranui, Kumamoto Prefecture.

Ogata, born in 1953, was a victim of Minamata disease, an illness caused by pollution emitted from Chisso Corporation's factory. Toxic chemicals were released into the ocean. His father, who was also a fisherman died from Minamata disease when Masato was 6 years old. For many years, Masato Ogata has been demanding that the Chisso Corporation and the government take responsibility. He stopped trying when he was 32 years old.

Minamata disease is caused by eating fish contaminated by the accumulation of methylmercury found in industrial drainage. Ogata "decided to think himself as a human being first rather than a Minamata disease patient and wondered what other animals would think about humans." He believes that "human beings need nature to live."

Toward the end of the talk, Narita and Anja Light, a singer-songwriter from Australia, joined and further discussed what real happiness is. Ogata said that "trust" in this modern society is more precious than money. Light thinks living in the vast wilderness of Ecuador helped her build a sense of trust with children. Tsuji responded to her comment and concluded with "Let's light candles in our minds. They are the lights of life."

Before and after the talk, Kazeyoshi, a farmer and singer-songwriter, and Light played their guitars and sang songs in the dim candlelight.

The title of the event, "Go home make a wish - fish carrying a light of life" implies that each participant should bring back what they heard to their home.

The university students distributed hand-made brochures that carried handwritten messages and a cute illustration.

"In the dark cold winter ocean was complete quietness.
A fish was carrying a small light.
The fish carried the light to his friends.
Some fish brought the light back to their nest.
In the nest, a newborn baby and mother fish were waiting,
They talked to each other, looking at each other's smiles for a long time.
Four fish gathered together around the light,
shaking their bottoms happily."

There was another candle exhibition in the parking lot next to the temple. The university students made a candle shaped like a fish. The candle was sparkling with Venus high up in the sky, the only visible thing in the high darkness.

(Taeko Ohno)