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Photographer's Note

The Kaminarimon (雷門 "Thunder Gate") is the outer of two large entrance gates that ultimately leads to the Sensō-ji (the inner being the Hōzōmon) in Asakusa, Tokyo. The gate, with its lantern and statues, is popular with tourists. It stands 11.7 m tall, 11.4 m wide and covers and area of 69.3 m2.

The Kaminarimon was first built in 942 by Taira no Kinmasa. It was originally located near Komagata, but it was reconstructed in its current location in 1635. This is believed to be when the statues of Shinto gods Raijin and Fūjin were first placed on the gate. Fūjin, the god of wind, is located on the east side of the gate, while Raijin, the god of thunder and lightning, is located on the west side. Both are on the front of the gate.

Two additional statues stand on the reverse of the gate: the Buddhist god Tenryū on the east, and the goddess Kinryū on the west side.

In the center of the Kaminarimon, under the gate, hangs a giant red chōchin that is 4 meters tall, 3.4 meters in circumference and weighs 670 kilograms (1,500 lb). The front of the lantern displays the gate's name, Kaminarimon (雷門). Painted on the back is the gate’s official name, Furaijinmon. A wooden carving depicting a dragon adorns the bottom of the lantern.

Being very fragile, the lantern is not an original piece. It is instead a restoration that was donated in August 2003 in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the start of the Edo period by Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (now known as Panasonic).

The gate has been destroyed many times throughout the ages. Four years after its relocation, the Kaminarimon burned down, and in 1649 Tokugawa Iemitsu rebuilt the gate along with several other of the major structures in the temple complex. The Kaminarimon's current structure dates from 1960 as the old gate was destroyed by the Allied fire-bombing of Tokyo.

The lanterns I have been told display names of donors,individuals and companies.

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Additional Photos by Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2980 W: 103 N: 5130] (23104)
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