New gear and merchandise featuring the Yoshitaka Amano Lotus Sutra illustration is now available. The Nichiren Shu sect of Buddhism commissioned the illustration for the 800th anniversary of the birth Nichiren Shonin. The original was placed on display in Chiba Prefecture’s Tanjoji Temple in February 2021. Now the Nichiren Shinbun, a special publication operated by the sect, has opened an online store to sell goods featuring the illustration. [Thanks, Famitsu!]
The Lotus Sutra is an influential scripture in Buddhism. Several schools of the religion were established based upon it, including the Nichiren Shu. Formally named Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra (“The Sutra on the White Lotus of the True Dharma”), it is said to contain the final teachings of the Buddha. Presented as a literary drama full of mythological scenes, the Lotus Sutra has many illustrated versions. Yoshitaka Amano’s version depicts the Buddha surrounded by bodhisattva disciples.
The online store features a variety of items that feature the Yoshitaka Amano Lotus Sutra illustration. The items on sale include fairly typical merchandise, such as poster and postcard-size prints of the picture, tote bags, mugs, stationery files, and so on. However, a few more unique items are also on offer befitting the work’s status as an item of religious iconography.
One item is an oversized tapestry, designed to hang on a wall. Unlike most typical wall hangings, it’s twice the size of the original, measuring 3 meters (15 feet) long. Only ten will be created, and each costs 120,000 JPY (about $1,050). It is marked as “sold out” on the website.
Another headline item is the Lotus Sutra illustration mounted on a traditional Japanese scroll, made of silk brocade. It measures 1.34 meters long (about 4 ft) and costs 150,000 JPY (about USD $1,315).
A more affordable version of the illustration comes in the form of a “Goshuincho” stamp book, for 2,500 JPY (about $22). Goshuincho are special books used by people visiting shrines and temples in Japan. For a small fee, a visitor can hand their Goshuincho over to staff at any given temple or shrine, who then stamp the book with the temple’s name and write in the date, allowing it to serve as a record of the visit. People often use them as a memento, or to record stops on a pilgrimage.
There is one item that may be of interest to particularly deep-pocketed buyers. Autographed, framed, high-quality replicas of the Yoshitaka Amano Lotus Sutra illustration are available directly through Nichiren Shinbun. The replicas measure 1.89 meters x 1.51 meters (about 6’2″L x 4’11″W) and cost 3.5 million JPY (about $30,652).
The Yoshitaka Amano Lotus Sutra goods are available through the Nichiren Shinbun online store. Amano also created character designs and illustrations for multiple games in the Final Fantasy series, including concept art for the upcoming Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker expansion.