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[Tokyo] Moyai Statue (モヤイ像): Art, Tradition, and Unity in Shibuya’s Heart


Unveiling the Enchanting Tale of Tradition and Unity in Shibuya

In the heart of Shibuya, amidst the bustling streets and vibrant cityscape, a monumental figure stands proudly, captivating the attention of passersby. The Moyai Statue, a magnificent creation crafted on the volcanic island of Niijima, holds a mesmerizing tale that intertwines art, tradition, and the bond between two communities. Prepare to embark on a journey as we unravel the captivating story behind this colossal sculpture and discover the enchanting world it unveils.

Long ago, the island of Niijima embraced a tradition known as “moyai,” a profound concept rooted in mutual assistance and unwavering community support. Inspired by this cherished practice, the islanders sought to immortalize its essence in a physical form that would resonate for generations to come.

In a remarkable gesture of commemoration, the village of Niijima bestowed the Moyai Statue upon Shibuya Ward in 1980, marking the 100th anniversary of Niijima’s transfer to Tokyo. Crafted with meticulous care, the statue traveled from the island, carrying the weight of history and friendship. And thus, it found its new home in the vibrant heart of Shibuya.

As one stands in the presence of the Moyai Statue, its sheer magnitude overwhelms the senses. Rising to an astonishing height of 2.5 meters and weighing an impressive 2.5 tons, this colossal sculpture commands attention. Adorned with meticulously carved faces, it tells a tale of duality and the passage of time. The youthful countenance, lovingly referred to as “anii” in the island’s dialect, graces the front of the statue, while an elder visage, known as “injii,” gazes serenely from its back.

Located just a stone’s throw away from the southern ticket gate of Shibuya Station, the Moyai Statue has become an iconic meeting spot for locals and tourists alike. Proudly facing the bustling rotary and the bustling bus terminal, it stands as a sentinel, guiding friends and acquaintances on their journeys through the city. Its position on the opposite side of the loyal dog Hachiko Statue adds a touch of delightful irony to the landscape, creating a dynamic interplay between tradition and modernity.

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