Available at a bookstore near you! (In Japan, anyway… of course …) “Bibouzu Zukan” (“Beautiful Monk Encyclopedia”) features 41 monks who may change the way you think about robes, shaved heads, and monotonous chanting.
You can read about the monks’ bios and hobbies, and browse their pictures, too. There’s no English version yet, but the translation job should be interesting to whoever does it. If it’s any clue, the subtitle on the cover says: “From good-looking, to healing types, to ‘creamy’ types!”
The author decided to write the book inspired by a memorable encounter with a monk she met on a school trip to a temple while in high school. Apparently he was very handsome and also “transcended gender in a saintly way”. (Whoah… Wait, isn’t that a contradiction?)
The author comments that whiles temples used to be central to communities, these days people just associate them with funerals—so why not try to associate them with hot young men instead? From the monks’ perspective, there may actually be quite a few of them who will welcome interested ladies. Being a monk has traditionally been a family business, and there are fewer successors these days due to fewer people sticking with it as well as finding mates.
The first printing of 10,000 copies has almost sold out, and the number of young women visiting temples with the book is reportedly on the rise. A customer review on Amazon.jp says, “Finally!!! The book I’ve been waiting for is here!” Can you smell a reality TV show here?