In Japan, butsudan (仏壇) are small shrines found in Buddhist temples and homes. They certainly don’t usually look like the one above!
Butsudan manufacturer Takumi Kougei, which is based in Hyogo Prefecture, teamed up with a cosplay props and Lolita knife company for this “Fantasy Butsudan Prayer Spot.” The outside of the butsudan looks like a castle wall, while the inside is supposed to resemble a fantasy forest one might encounter in a JRPG, an anime, or a manga.
Typical butsudan can be ornate with gold leaf or have a simple lacquer coating. People in Japan pray at the butsudan to pay respects to Buddha and departed family members. What’s placed inside the butsudan can vary between Buddhist sects. There might be images or statues of Buddha or a Buddhist deity or, as in the Jodo Shinshu sect, photos of the deceased. Incense is burned, and there’s a little bell called a rin that’s rung when saying prayers.
In my wife’s family butsudan, we put offerings of snacks and soft drinks enjoyed by deceased relatives. So, if your family members like gaming or even anime and manga, this Fantasy Butsudan Prayer Spot might actually be a fitting shrine. And instead of offerings of food, how about a copy of Final Fantasy VII or Dragon Quest?
According to Takumi Kougei, the design is supposed to reflect the start of a “new adventure” in the world beyond—a desire that makes sense. Takumi Kougei points out that it’s possible to remove the sword and rearrange the inside of the butsudan. For example, it’s possible to put a Buddhist statue or a memorial tablet instead, and add the necessary accouterments found in family altars.
Butsudan are not cheap. Priced at 880,000 yen ($7,700), the Fantasy Butsudan Prayer Spot is, in that regard, no exception.