KYOTO, Japan — From marathons to pink helium balloons, the world has never been short of creative means to celebrate with breast cancer survivors and to remember those who have fallen prey to the debilitating disease. But one Buddhist temple in Japan took the celebration to a whole new level when it transformed its massive structure into a pink monument with the use of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.
Shoin Onishi, one of the chief monks for the Kiyomizu temple, said for years the temple has been alight for people from around the world, but operating it 24 hours has been somewhat of a financial burden because of the amount of light needed to keep it illuminated. However, in what has transpired as one of the temple's most cost-cutting measures to date, the religious leader recently switched all the temple's fluorescent lighting bulbs to LED, courtesy of Panasonic. Now the monk said the temple is spending only one-sixth of what it used to for its electricity bill.
"The materials, the resources, they are running out and we have to save energy, we have to think how to conserve our resources more," he said.
The massive temple has become a centrepiece for Kyoto which was the capital for many years until the current capital Tokyo manifested itself as the central area for business and trade. The Buddhist influence is very evident in the ancient city which despite its self-sufficiency, still maintains its traditional historical appeal. Its peaceful allure has helped to guarantee its spot on UNESCO World heritage sites and has never failed to pull in tourists from around the word.
Situated on the hills east of Kyoto, the Kiyomizu temple can be seen from far off, especially at nights. Today, the pink temple stands in solidarity with women around the world who are battling breast cancer. Onishi explained that the pink illumination will be maintained throughout October which is traditionally celebrated as breast cancer awareness month.
The pink shade has spared nothing that is within close proximity to the temple. From the forestry to the nearby waterfall, all have been bathed in a soft, rosy glow, providing a more peaceful and gentle atmosphere for those who visit the world heritage site to seek rest.
"During the night, people come and rest and sleep and enjoy the temple and that's why we wanted to illuminate the temple," Onishi said.
Switching from fluorescent to Panasonic LED lighting has also made it much easier for the temple to diversify its appearance, and Onishi hopes to take advantage of this by hosting a special lighting ceremony between November 15 and December 8 at the historic site.