FUKUOKA – Buddhist temples in western Japan are becoming unlikely sites for entertainment, putting on 1970s and ’80s disco music and planetarium shows to attract young people and regain their status as places for community gatherings.
On a recent weeknight a huge glitter ball spun while emitting a bright white light on the ceiling of Kosenji temple in central Fukuoka.
Together with a pair of glitter balls on the floor flashing red, blue and purple lights, a discolike atmosphere was created inside the otherwise solemn main hall. It was an innovative effort by chief priest Koji Jo, 55, to get people in his community thinking of temples as part of secular life.
“Things have changed from the days when people would attend temple schools to learn writing. People don’t come to temples unless there is a funeral or other memorial service,” Jo said.