In AD 753, the venerable Jianzhen finally landed on the shores of Japan after five failed attempts to spread Buddhism to the island country. In the last 10 years of his life, the blind master, known as Ganjin in Japan, established the Ritsu sect of Buddhism at the Toshodaiji Temple in Nara.
In 1980, the dry lacquer statue (pictured) made of Ganjin shortly before he died was brought back by the abbot of Toshodaiji Temple to Ganjin's hometown in Yangzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The short trip symbolized the centuries-old friendship between the two nations.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of the Sino-Japanese relationship. The China International Exhibition Agency under the Ministry of Culture is presenting a photo exhibition on cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Besides the photo showing the home trip of Ganjin's statue, more than 130 other snapshots bear witness to the continuous efforts by political and cultural figures on both sides to tighten the friendship between China and Japan, since 1955. The exhibition also highlights the on-going Sino-Japanese Cultural and Sport Exchange Year. It is held at the Beijing World Art Museum of the Millennium Monument, and runs until Friday.
(China Daily December 13, 2007)