Jizo in Hawaii

Jizo, one of the most beloved Buddhist deities in Japan, is known primarily as the guardian of children and travelers. In coastal areas, fishermen and swimmers also look to him for protection. Soon after their arrival in the late 1800s, issei (first-generation Japanese) shoreline fishermen began casting for ulua on Hawai‘i’s treacherous sea cliffs, where they risked being swept off the rocky ledges. In response to numerous drownings, Jizo statues were erected near dangerous fishing and swimming sites. Guardian of the Sea: Jizo in Hawai‘i, by John R. K. Clark, tells the story of a compassionate group of men who raised these statues as a service to their communities.

August 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3158-5 / $19.95 (PAPER)

“John Clark has written a remarkable book about shoreline statues of Jizo, a Buddhist figure dedicated to our protection and enlightenment. . . . John draws on interviews with more than three hundred individuals to document the location of these statues and in the process offers us a glimpse of the daily lives and spirituality of early Japanese Americans. We are indebted to him for making us aware of these Jizo monuments and their role in shaping Hawai‘i’s multicultural heritage.” —Dennis Ogawa, chair, American Studies Department, University of Hawai‘i

John R. K. Clark is the author of numerous best-selling books on Hawai‘i’s beaches— most recently Beaches of Oahu (revised edition); Hawai‘i Place Names: Shores, Beaches, and Surf Sites; and Hawai‘i’s Best Beaches—all published by University of Hawai‘i Press.