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bell tower (shōrō 鐘樓)

The word "tower" ( 樓) originally meant a structure at least two stories high. In the Chinese Buddhist monasteries of the Song and Yuan dynasties, on which medieval Japanese Zen monasteries were modeled, there often was a tower that held a great bell (daishō 大鐘) on its second floor, which had a roof but no walls. A few such buildings can still be found at large Zen monasteries in Japan today, but most bell towers consist simply of a roofed scaffolding from which a large bell and external striking beam is suspended. The structure stands on a low stone pedestal, which the person ringing the bell steps up onto.