The Android Kannon at Kodaiji temple in Kyoto says it practices Buddha’s teachings in a modern world by treating people without prejudice and helping troubled people. (Video by Yoshiko Sato)

KYOTO--With its hands clasped together, the Android Kannon is adding a modern update to a famed temple built here by the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the 16th-century warlord who unified Japan, to commemorate her husband.

The Android Kannon, which is a Buddhist deity of mercy, was unveiled to the news media on Feb. 23 at Kodaiji temple before it starts preaching to the public in March.

“Buddhism saw a phenomenal spread in the world with the emergence of Buddhist images,” said Tensho Goto, a priest at the temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward. “We are hoping that the Android Kannon will help Buddhist teachings reach the hearts of people today.”

The 100 million yen ($909,090) project to build the android was a collaboration between the zen temple and Hiroshi Ishiguro, professor of intelligent robotics at Osaka University.

The temple asked Ishiguro and his team to develop an android that can preach Buddhist teachings in an easily understood manner to help give peace of mind to troubled people.

The android, named Mindar, is programmed to deliver a “sermon” from the Heart Sutras in Japanese. The translated versions of English and Chinese are projected on a screen.

Mindar, which has a camera installed in its left eye, stands 195 centimeters tall, including the base, and weighs 60 kilograms.

It can move its head, as well as arms and torso, which have see-through mechanical parts.

The Kannon deity transforms itself into various forms to help people.

“This time, Kannon changed into an android,” according to the temple.

The special exhibition of the Android Kannon is scheduled to run from March 8 to May 6. Junior high school students and older can attend.