I saw something cute recently when my daughter was watching Japanese TV (NHK), and later I was able to find it online. It’s a small segment that takes famous works of art (Japanese and Western) and makes songs about them.
My favorite is Ashura Chorus (あしゅらコーラス). Ashura is the famous Buddhist statue found at Kofukuji Temple in Nara, who represents an mythical ashura, which is like a Greek “titan” in ancient Indian culture. This ashura is famous, because according to legend, he encountered Shakyamuni Buddha and repented his violent past. Thus, this statue shows Ashura without weapons and with a peaceful gesture. It’s one of the most recognizable works of early Japanese Buddhist art.
The song is cute because it is about how Ashura is never lonely, even if he is by himself. He has three heads and 6 arms, so he always has a couple friends and they like to sing a chorus together. 🙂
Having a connection to Japanese culture and Buddhism really helps my daughter, I think. She’s not learning Japanese culture or Buddhism in isolation, from books only, or from limited contact. Even though she lives in a non-Buddhist culture, and feels pressure from her classmates, she also has something positive that becomes part of her childhood and gives her a foundation as she grows up.1 I really hope my son will get this exposure too.
Anyhow, I digress. Definitely watch the videos if you can. They are really cute. You might start singing “a-shura-shura” too.
P.S. The other songs are cute too. One song is about the kami Raijin and Fujin going on a date together and being good friends. Another is about Venus, the Greco-Roman goddess of love, who has to go to school, but isn’t allowed to ride her clamshell to campus.
1 Another thing I like about Buddhism: you can make cute songs and joke about Buddhist figures without worrying about committing blasphemy, or being punished. I don’t want my daughter (and my son) to be afraid of their own religion.