Daibutsu, a large statue of Buddha (大仏)
Daibutsu is a popular name meaning a large statue of the Buddha as a Buddhist image. In the Buddhist region of Asia, such as China, statues of Buddha had been carved into rock faces since ancient times. In Japan it was the first time that Emperor Shomu built a Daibutsu of Todai-ji Temple in order for the power of the Imperial Court in the ritsuryo system to become widely known through Buddhism. Since then, large statues of Buddha have been built in many places by people who pursue acts of great piety.
In Japan there are statues of Buddha that are called '○○Daibutsu' in many places, but there is no standard as to how large one should be in order to be called 'Daibutsu.'
The three large statues of Buddha in Japan
Until World WarⅡ, 'Nara Great Buddha,' 'Kamakura Great Buddha' and 'Hyogo Great Buddha' were called 'Nihon Sandaibutsu (three large statues of Buddha in Japan),' but since Hyogo Daibutsu was broken during wartime delivery (the present Hyogo Daibutsu was rebuilt) there is now controversy as to which should be the third Daibutsu next to 'Nara Great Buddha' and 'Kamakura Great Buddha.'
Currently, there are some large statues that are identified as Nihon Sandai Daibutsu: 'the Great Image of Buddha at Takaoka,' 'Hyogo Great Buddha (rebuilt),' 'Nihon-ji Great Buddha,' 'Gifu Great Buddha,' 'Great Buddha of Ushiku,' 'Great Buddha of Tokyo,' 'Great Buddha of Akada' and so on.
A TV program titled "Tamori Club," aired by the TV Asahi Corporation on May 4, 2007, had a special feature on Nihon Sandaibutsu and decided on the third Great Buddha.