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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Moyai of Shibuya Station

渋谷駅 モヤイ像

Shibuya Station is famous for its Hachiko statue - so famous in fact that the exit near the statue is named after it. However, the south exit of Shibuya Station also has a statue - a much bigger one - that isn't as famous: the Moyai.

This massive statue is based on the moai statues of Easter Island, and was donated to Tokyo by Niijima Village in the Izu Islands south of Tokyo, which are officially a part of Tokyo. It was 1980, and the occasion was the celebration of Tokyo's 100th year as capital of Japan (which previously had been Kyoto).

Niijima Village is the source of the stone of which this statue is made. The word "moyai" is a word in the Japanese dialect of Niijima Village meaning "to work together," and by happy coincidence it sounds like "moai."

Although poor cousin to Hachiko, Shibuya Station's south exit moai is actually more memorable, in its grand, tragic simplicity, and, not least, its solitude in a spot only a minute's walk from the Shibuya shopping area - one of the Japan's most crowded places!

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