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Japan fans see World Cup star Ayumu Goromaru in Buddha statue

Tokyo: A golden Buddha in Japan has attracted new — and unexpected — attention from rugby fanatics who are thronging to the statue to witness in person the hand gesture it shares with beloved World Cup hero Ayumu Goromaru.

A Buddha statue at Seki-Zenkoji temple (left) has a pose similar to that of Japan's rugby star Ayumu Goromaru (right).
A Buddha statue at Seki-Zenkoji temple (left) has a pose similar to that of Japan's rugby star Ayumu Goromaru (right). Pic/AFP

The number of visitors to the religious-turned-sports shrine in central Japan has soared five-fold as eager fans descend on the Dainichi Nyorai statue, which has clasped hands with upward pointing index fingers touching each other — just like Goromaru’s trademark pre-kick pose.

“At weekends, more than 1,000 people pay homage a day,” said the chief priest of Seki-Zenkoji temple, Shunkai Sato, yesterday. Goromaru, 29, propelled Japan to shock victory over South Africa in September, scoring 24 points described as the biggest upset in the history of the World Cup.

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