This statue of Ryokan (良寛) was completed with the cooperation of Buddhist statue sculptor Mr. Yooku Fujita (藤田燿憶) and colorist Ms. Chihiro Takamura (篁千礼).
Ryokan (1758-1831) is known as a priest of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism as well as a writer of Chinese poetry and tanka poetry, and a calligrapher of the latter of the Edo Period. Born in 1758, he was the eldest son of the village headman Tachibanaya Yamamoto (橘屋山本家) in Izumozaki, Echigo Province (越後国出雲崎). In 1775, at the age of 18, he entered the priesthood at Kosho-ji Temple (光照寺). In 1779, he apprenticed to Kokusen Osho (国仙和尚) of Entsu-ji Temple (円通寺) in the Tamashima, Bitchu region (備中玉島). After twelve years of training and embarking on pilgrimages around various regions, he settled in a thatched hut at Otogo Shrine (乙子神社) at the foot of Mt. Kugamiyama's Gogo-an (五合庵, 国上山). Until his death at age 74, he led a life free from greed, living in a humble thatched hut and never owning his own temple. Meanwhile, Ryokan left behind many poems and songs expressing his simple nature and which were loved by well-known figures such as Natsume Soseki (夏目漱石). The statue transcends generations, as it conveys a person full of affection, pulled from anecdotes of Ryokan innocently playing with children and treating everyone equally without discrimination.