Buddhist temples are the last place you’d imagine going to enjoy techno music and bathe in a kaleidoscope of psychedelic lights, but at Shōonji in Fukui Prefecture, there’s a rather unique memorial service held to the smooth beats of techno tracks.

Since October 2016, abbot Gyosen Asakura has been holding techno Buddhist memorial services at his temple, which began as an effort to attract more visitors and evoke the interests of Japan’s younger generations toward religion. Combining multicolored lights, projection mapping, and techno music, Asakura has conjured up a modern, quite unconventional way to make his temple and services feel more accessible to the wider public.

Source: Ready For

For Asakura personally, however, the merging of his Buddhist services and techno music wasn’t so much of a stretch. An avid fan of music, as well a former professional DJ, it was only natural for him to blend the two things he held most dear to his heart. The result, as many visitors have found out, was an otherworldly service marked with chantings of Buddhist scripture and bright illuminations.

Though this techno Buddhist memorial service might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Asakura asserts that despite his unorthodox ways, this new type of service is simply a modernized recreation of the image of the Pure Land of Perfect Bliss, which traditional decorations inside temples are meant to represent. Thus, he is only interpreting the divine land of Amida Buddha in a way that could resonate with more people.

As strangely marvelous as Asakura’s endeavor might seem, Japanese temples are quite commonly known to branch out of their usual services to engage the public. As for abbot Asakura’s new service, it has received praise from visitors young and old, and he is currently collecting funds to help support his effort and make his services more widespread. Needless to say, Shōonji has become a viral sensation in Japan, and we’re left to wonder what new projects Asakura has in store for us next.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.