Mount Fuji in History, Culture and Art 歴史、文化、芸術に富士山の影響

  • Published on : 20/04/2020
  • by : S.R.
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More than a mountain

Mount Fuji occupies a special place in the Japanese imagination, for the singular beauty of its symmetrical slopes and its snow-capped top and for the religious activity which developed there. The image and importance has been illustrated in the numerous works of art throughout history. 


An Object Of Religious Worship

Mount Fuji has occupied a prominent place in Japanese religions since ancient times. The first ascent of Mount Fuji was thus, according to legend, made by En no Gyoja in 663, a monk who founded of the Shugendo sect. A temple dedicated to the fiery goddess was built there in 806, which feeds the theory that the name Fuji comes from the word ainu "fuchi", which means fire. During the Heian period (794-1185), the Court gave an honorary rank to the mountain in order to appease it, which was moreover venerated like Shingen Okami.

Read also: The Ainu of Japan

Statute of En no Gyoja

Statute of En no Gyoja


The Ubiquity Of Mount Fuji

The influence of Mount Fuji in Japanese arts and letters also goes back a long way. You can find a describtion written about the moutnain in the man'yoshu (-760) - the oldest compilation of Japanese poems composed between the 4th and 8th centuries. Mount Fuji is also mentioned in other classical writings as the Ise Monogatari, compound 9th century, or the Taketori Monagatari ( "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter") dated 10th century. In modern times, both Natsume Soseki and Osamu Dazai used Mount Fuji as inspiration for their work.

The wave off Kanagawa with Mount Fuji in the background of Hokusai

The wave off Kanagawa with Mount Fuji in the background of Hokusai (Under the wave off Kanagawa)


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