Monk Hoping to Connect People thru Bartering at Tokyo Bar


Tokyo, Aug. 10 (Jiji Press)--Vowz Bar in Tokyo, where people can enjoy cocktails while listening to sermons and sutras by Buddhist monks in "samue" workwear, has started bartering goods, just like in the Japanese folk tale "Straw Millionaire."

Yoshinobu Fujioka, a monk of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha sect, said that he started the project to "visualize people's ties in hopes that such efforts will eventually lead to peace," especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to connect with other people.

Fujioka, 45, who goes by the Buddhist name "Zennen," runs the bar in the busy Yotsuya district, hoping that it will serve as a haven of relaxation. He says that his ultimate goal in the bartering project is a temple.

The Straw Millionaire tale begins with a young and lonely samurai praying to the Kannon Bodhisattva at Hase Temple in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, western Japan.

Following the words of a monk who appears in a dream, the man picks up the first object he touches after leaving the temple, a piece of straw.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press