The San Francisco Peace Pagoda
If you’ve ever lived in Japantown, went on one of the many San Francisco tours, or studied Buddhism, this picture might ring a bell. The building is called the Peace Pagoda, though it’s certainly not the only structure to bear that name. Built under Nichidatsu Fujii, a Japanese monk who founded the Nipponzan-Myōhōji order of Buddhism, most Peace Pagoda buildings are stupas , or structures that contain Buddhist relics (often the remains of Buddha himself). Buddhists typically use stupas as places of worship.
However, the Peace Pagodas serve a different purpose — they stand to gather people of all races and creeds with the aim of achieving world peace. The original Peace Pagodas were symbols of peace built in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the wake of the nuclear bombings. By the year 2000, eighty Pagodas had been built in cities and countries the world over, San Francisco included.This particular Peace Pagoda isn’t actually tied to the Nipponzan-Myōhōji order, however. It was designed in 1968 by the late Yoshiro Taniguchi and presented to the city as a gift from Osaka – San Francisco’s sister city. The stupa is a five-tiered structure made mainly of precast concrete. The design, despite being based on traditional Japanese structures, is surprisingly modern for its time, so it’s still an attractive architectural project in the 21st century (and one of the more popular San Francisco attractions for photos).
Still… something about the pagoda’s design always reminds us of Italian Italian pizelle cookies. And that is by no means a bad thing (except for our waistlines).
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