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Before his death in 1199, Yoritomo expressed a desire to build a giant Buddha statue in Kamakura, one that could rival the Nara Daibutsu and demonstrate his political power and religious faith.After his death, the Kamakura shogunate was controlled by his wife Hōjō Masako 北条政子 (1157–1225) and a long line of Hōjō regents.Roughly 11.3 meters in height (13.35 meters with pedestal) and weighing 125 tons, the Kamakura Daibutsu was financed entirely with donations from devotees and commoners (no aid from the imperial court or the Kamakura shogunate).Cast in 1252, the statue was originally housed in a wooden structure, but that structure was destroyed by a violent storm in 1335, rebuilt, and again destroyed in another storm in 1495.About Site Author Bibliography Buddhism in Japan Busshi Glossary Carving Techniques Cycle of Suffering Drapery/Robe Guide Mandala Guide Mudra Guide Objects Guide Pilgrimage Guide Shinto Guide Statues by Artist Statues by Era Symbols Guide Terminology A TO Z INDEX 3 Element Stele 3 Monkeys 4 Bosatsu 4 Celestial Emblems 4 Heavenly Kings 5 (Number Five) 5 Elements 5 Tathagata 5 Tier Pagoda 5 Wisdom Kings 6 Jizo 6 Kannon 6 Realms 6 Nara Schools 7 Lucky Gods 7 Nara Temples 8 Legions 8 Zodiac Patrons 10 Kings of Hell 12 Devas 12 Generals 12 Zodiac Animals 13 Butsu (Funerals) 28 Legions 28 Constellations 30 Buddha of Month 30 Kami of Month 33 Kannon About the Author Agyo Aizen Amano Jyaku Amida Nyorai Apsaras Arakan (Rakan) Arhat (Rakan) Ashuku Nyorai Asuka Era Art Tour Asura (Ashura) Baku (Eats Dreams) Bamboo Benzaiten (Benten) Bibliography Big Buddha Birushana Nyorai Bishamon-ten Bodhisattva Bonbori Artwork Bosatsu Group Bosatsu of Mercy Bosatsu on Clouds Buddha (Historical) Buddha Group Buddha Statues Busshi (Sculptors) Calligraphy Celestial Emblems Celestial Maidens Children Patrons Classifying Color Red Confucius Contact Us Daibutsu Daijizaiten Daikokuten Dainichi Nyorai Daruma (Zen) Datsueba (Hell Hag) Deva (Tenbu) Donations Dosojin Dragon Drapery (Robes) Early Buddhism Japan Ebisu Eight Legions En no Gyoja Estores Family Tree Footprints of Buddha Fox (Inari) Fudo (Fudou) Myoo Fugen Bosatsu Fujin (Wind God) Fukurokuju Gakko & Nikko Gardens Gigeiten Godai Nyorai Goddess of Mercy Goddesses Gongen Gravestones Hachi Bushu Hachiman Hands (Mudra) Hell (10 Judges) Hell Hag (Datsueba) Hell Scrolls Henge Hikyu (Lion Beast) Holy Mountains Ho-o (Phoenix) Hotei Idaten Inari (Fox) Ishanaten Ishidoro (Ishidourou) Jikokuten Jizo Bosatsu Jocho Busshi Juni Shi Juni Shinsho Juni Ten Junrei (Pilgrimage) Jurojin Juuzenji Jyaki or Tentoki Kaikei Busshi Kamakura Buddhism Kankiten Kannon Bosatsu Kappa Kariteimo (Kishibojin) Karura Karyoubinga Kendatsuba Kichijouten Kitchen Gods Kishibojin (Kariteimo) Kitsune (Oinari) Kokuzo Bosatsu Koujin (Kojin) Komokuten Korean Buddhism Koushin Lanterns (Stone) Links Magatama Making Statues Mandara (Mandala) Maneki Neko Marishiten (Marici) Miroku Bosatsu Monju Bosatsu Monkeys Moon Lodges Mother Goddess Mudra (Hands) Myoken (Pole Star) Myo-o Nara Era Art Tour Newsletter Sign Up Nijuhachi Bushu Nikko & Gakko Ninpinin Nio Protectors Nyorai Group Objects & Symbols Onigawara Phoenix (Ho-o) Pilgrimage Guide Pottery Protective Stones Raigo Triad Raijin (Thunder God) Rakan (Arhat) Red Clothing Reincarnation Robes (Drapery) Rock Gardens Sanbo Kojin Sanno Gongen Sarutahiko Sculptors (Busshi) Seishi Bosatsu Sendan Kendatsuba Seven Lucky Gods Shachi, Shachihoko Shaka Nyorai Shape Shifters Shichifukujin Shijin (Shishin) Shinra Myoujin Shinto Clergy Shinto Concepts Shinto Kami Shinto Main Menu Shinto Sects Shinto Shrines Shishi (Lion) Shitenno Shoki Shomen Kongo Shotoku Taishi Shrines Shugendo Siddhartha Six States Star Deities Stone Gardens Stone Graves Stone Lanterns Stones (Top Menu) Suijin (Water Kami) Symbols & Objects Tamonten Taishakuten Tanuki Temples Temple Lodging Tenbu Group Tengu Tennin & Tennyo Tentoki or Jyaki Terminology Tiantai Art Tour Tibetan Carpets Tibet Photos Tibetan Tanka Transmigration Ungyo Unkei Busshi Videos on Buddhism Water Basin Weapons Wheel of Life Yakushi Nyorai Yasha (Yaksha) Zao Gongen Zen (Daruma) Zen Art Tour Zodiac Calendar Zochoten Of the three most widely known giant effigies of Buddha from old Japan, only the Kamakura Daibutsu (11.3 meters) remains in original form.The Nara Daibutsu (15 meters) was recast, while the famous Kyoto Daibutsu (24 meters) was entirely destroyed in a fire.
But typically no one sits outside collecting money -- it's the honor system. Even today's technology, however, cannot find out precisely how it was cast and built.
Five years later, in 1252, a new statue (this time made of bronze, not wood) was completed, thanks again to fundraising efforts by Lady Inada and Monk Jōkō.
A cenotaph stands in the Kōtokuin courtyard to this day to commemorate Lady Inada's tireless dedication to this project.
The Hōjō regents, however, patronized primarily Zen-sect temples.
In 1243, construction of the colossal wood statue and a hall to house it were completed, but the statue was destroyed in a violent storm in 1247.