KS 6

For the most part, Japan isn’t really sold on the idea that bigger is better. Sure, you can find giant parfaits and monstrous sashimi bowls, but that’s to be expected, since saying you’d rather have less of either is a sure-fire way to blow your cover to the human resistance that you’re secretly one of their killbot overlords in disguise.

Artistically speaking, though, the generally preferred aesthetic is graceful understatement, which doesn’t really necessitate ostentatious scale. The one major exception to this, however, is images of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion.

Giant-sized statues of Kannon can be found at a number of locations in Japan, and now, if you’re lucky enough, you could own one for less than 1,000 yen.

We’re not sure if artisans are trying to equate the size of Kannon’s heart with the size of their statues of her, but for some reason towering images of the goddess seem to be the norm. While there are two well-known Great Buddhas in Japan, the number of colossal Kannons is far greater.

▼ Kannon in Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture

KS 7

▼ Kagawa Prefecture’s Shodoshima Island, filming location for the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service, also has one.

KS 2

▼ Sometimes, Kannon is so big there’s only room for her head, as in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture.

KS 3

Ureshino City, located in Saga Prefecture on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, also has a semi-famous Kannon statue. At 17 meters (55 feet, 9 inches) tall, it has become a local landmark in the town of 28,000.

However, circumstances are forcing the statue’s owners to sell it off. Given the subject and size of the piece, you might think this would be done through private art brokers or religious organizations, but instead, the owners have decided to put the Kannon statue up for auction on Yahoo! Japan.

KS 4

We have to say, that’s some impressive craftsmanship, and surely the statue would go well in any Asian art connoisseur’s parlor or living room….

▼ Oh, right….

KS 5

The sellers are well aware of the unbelievable nature of the auction, and have specifically asked that would-be comedians refrain from making joke bids. The auction opened on March 10 at just one yen, and the highest bid as of this moment is a paltry 834 yen (US$8.10). When new, in 1984, the combined cost of the statue and base was a whopping 37 million yen, so barring a deluge of bids between now and when the auction closes at 9:28 p.m. on March 17, someone stands to come away with a real bargain.

Potential buyers should be aware of a number of related costs, however. The winner of the auction will be awarded ownership of the statue, but neither disassembly, transportation, nor installation costs are included. As a consolation, however, the sellers will also throw in a collection of a-un and nio Buddhist guardian statues. The winner of the auction can pick up the bundle after April 20.

So just why are the original owners looking to offload the giant Kannon statue? Well, aside from the above-mentioned religious statuary, they also run the Ureshino Sex Museum, which site on the same plot of land. It seems the museum has fallen on hard times, as it’s is closing its doors for good on March 31.

It’s a bittersweet ending for the institution, but apparently the harsh reality of how society searches for nude images and phallic symbols in our brave, digital age isn’t as forgiving as Kannon herself.

Sources: Jin, Yahoo! Japan Auctions
Top image: Hachima Kiko
Insert images: Seesaa, Loco, Goo, FC2