Kannon, Cannons and Berlin's Golden Twenties

All 33 temples of the Saigoku Pilgrimage worship Kannon, a Buddhist goddess (more precisely, a Bodhisattva). What Kannon is, was common knowledge in Berlin in its Golden Twenties. Every Berliner knew that thanks to a – now forgotten – bestseller and best-selling author. The book „The Kwannon of Okadera“ written by Ludwig Wolff in 1920 was a big sensation and was also covered by a famous movie. A Viennese journal committed the faux pas to mix up „Kwannon of Okadera“ with „Cannons of Okadera“. With anger his colleage from Vienna made clear:

„A Berliner knows what 'Kwannon' is. Surely, he knows. Either he has read the sequels of this novel by Ludwig Wolff in the 'Berliner Illustrierte' or he saw the ten thousand mystical posters on every street corner, in all subway station, and at each kiosk. Even in the most hidden corners of the darkest streets of Berlin the posters would have hammered into him, until he finally would have had checked the encyclopedia ...“

From: Bernard Schüler, Der Ullstein-Verlag und der Stummfilm

Read more about the „Kwannon of Okadera“ in the chapter to Temple No. 7 of our ebook „Saigoku – On the road in Japan's Western Lands“.

Modern dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis as Kannon. Source: Revue des Monats, Bd. 4, 1929/30, Heft Nr. 10. Photo by Soichi Sunami.

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