.... since seeing Mo's shrine pic from Kyoto."
I love my colorful, talented, gorgeous aunt Anne! Here is some more info about why the Japanese put little outfits on the buddhas!
These statues, which are common all over Japan, represent the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, more commonly known in Japan as Jizu. Jizu is a beloved divinity who is considered the guardian of children, in particular those who died before their parents. Because such children have caused their parents so much pain, their souls are cursed by bad karma and thus are not able to cross to the mythical Sanzu River from hell to the heavenly afterlife. Jizu helps these children by protecting them from demons until they can accumulate enough good karma through hearing mantras to move on to paradise. Parents leave the offerings of bibs, little hats, etc. in hope that Jizu will also wrap their babies and children in a warm embrace of protection.