Fuji san, a deep focus on the symbol of Japan

Snow-capped peaks, dizzying slopes, harmonious and perfect shape: Mount Fuji. Breathtakingly majestic, a famous cultural icon: a mystical and spiritual place. There are no words to describe what it feels like to be in front of this wonder of nature. Its importance is such that it is often said that, more than a symbol of Japan, it is Japan.

Mount Fuji 富士山 The symbol of Japan

Guest Author: Flavia

Fuji (富士山 Fu-Ji-San) is located in the Chūbu region (中部地方), about 100 km southwest of the capital Tokyo. It lies between the current prefectures of Yamanashi and Shizuoka, with Kanagawa prefecture to the east. The entire area is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park (富士-箱根-伊豆-国立公園Fuji-Hakone-Izu Kokuritsu-Koen). Together with Mount Tate (立山) and Mount Haku (白山) is part of the CDs. Three Sacred Mountains ( 三霊山 San-Rei-Zan ) so identified because they are sacred to the Japanese tradition.

The numerous cultural-historical sites around the mountain testify to the great spiritual significance that has always been attributed to it. In pre-modern times it was, in fact, a pilgrimage destination for monks engaged in spiritual research and self-discipline, as well as for ordinary people.

Today this religious connotation has been lost. Although the idea is still widespread that climbing to the top of Fuji at least once in a lifetime is almost a religious duty. Nowadays, climbing is also facilitated by modern means, thanks to which the route to be made on foot is more than halved!

Source of inspiration for a vast cultural production (literature, poetry, art...), its influence has reached the West. It is now well known how much the prints of the masters Hokusai and Hiroshige, portraying Fuji, influenced Monet and Van Gogh.

The fact that it appears among the yen bills and in the name of the main television station is indicative of the central role it plays for the people of the Rising Sun. So much so that it is classified as a "Special Site of Scenic Beauty" and protected as cultural property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (branch of MEXT). In 2013 it is declared World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. It is included in the category culture - rather than nature - because its impact goes far beyond its natural essence. There are at least twenty-five sites of interest recognized by UNESCO, on Japan's most important mountain.

Fuji

photo credits: expedia.it

Fuji Geological History

Fuji is classified as a stratovolcano, a volcano formed by the accumulation of layers of solidified lava and volcanic ash. Its particularly steep slopes, its perfect conical and symmetrical shape are the results of this overlapping process. It has a crater with a diameter of about 600 meters, 250 meters deep, and at least 70 small secondary peaks including Mount Hōei and Omuro. Its volcanic activity began more than 100,000 years ago.

It was long agreed that there were three stages of the stratification process, called "Small Peak" (小御岳Ko-Mitake), Old Fuji (古富士Ko-Fuji ) and New Fuji (新富士Shin-Fuji). Since 2004 new studies and explorations have revealed the existence of a fourth phase Proto-Komitake (小御岳 Sen-Komitake). It is currently believed that the Komitake originated as a result of eruptions produced by the Proto-Komitake hundreds of thousands of years ago. Just as about 100,000 years ago an eruption of the Komitake gave rise to Old Fuji, the summit of which reached about 2,700 meters with subsequent eruptions. So the Fuji over the millennia has been gradually shaping itself. It reached its present form about 10,000 years ago, after Old Fuji and Komitake also disappeared under the layers of lava.

It erupted nine times between 781 and 1083, and then it remained quiet for a few centuries. Its last eruption - which formed Mount Hōei - dates back to 1707, which for a while led to classify it as dormant. But around 1960 there is a change of definition: it is defined as "active" every volcano whose eruption has ever been documented. In 2003 a further update extends the definition to every volcano that has ever erupted in the last 10,000 years and that continues to give signs of activity. Under these last two designations, Fuji is now considered active. It ranks at 5 in the Volcanic Explosivity Index on a scale from 0 to 8 (like our Vesuvius and Etna).

monte fuji fuji

photo credits: web.archive.org

Geography and territory of Fuji San

Thanks to its 3,776 meters of height, our Fuji is undisputed as the highest peak in Japan. However, between 1895 and 1945 it was climbed by another mountain! How? Because of the post-war agreements closing the first Sino-Japanese conflict, with the Treaty of Shimonoseki, when Taiwan came under Japanese control. Therefore, formally, in those years Taiwanese territory was Japanese. Thus, the Taiwanese "Jade Mountain" (玉山 Yu-Shan) - then called by the Japanese "New High Mountain" (新高山Nii-Taka-Yama) - with its 3,952 meters manages for 50 years to overtake Fuji-San.

There are three towns on its slopes (whose names also characterize three of the main access routes to Fuji): Gotemba (御殿場) to the east, Fujinomiya (富士宮) to the south-west, Fujiyoshida (富士吉田) to the north.

Five, the lakes (富士五湖 Fu-Ji-Go-Ko) that surround it: Yamanaka (山中湖); Kawaguchi (河口湖); Saiko (西湖); Shōji ( 精進湖 ); Motosu (本栖湖). Curiosity: the latter in particular would be the Japanese version of Loch Ness. Legend has it that in 1970 they sighted a creature of 30 meters with rough skin and full of humps: it was promptly christened Mossie!

Near the lakes, to the north-west, we also find a forest of 3000 hectares: Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), also known as Jukai (樹海) or "sea of trees" (sadly known for the primacy of suicides, second only to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco). The area is also rich in caves and hot springs.

Mishotai (御正体山) and Shakushiyama (杓子山) in the northeast, Kurodake (黒岳) in the north and Kenashi (毛無山) in the west, are the closest peaks from which you can see Fuji in the front row.

fuji

photo credits: itinari.com

Fuji, etymology and meanings: But what does "Fuji" mean?

The first thing to note: the name "Fuji" already existed before the introduction of Chinese ideograms or sinograms. The characters used to indicate it were therefore chosen according to their pronunciation so that the latter would coincide with the pre-existing pronunciation. Written as it is today, i.e. 富士山 (Fuji-San), it is given the meaning of "Prosperous Mountain".

There are, however, different opinions that in the past "Fuji" meant something else. Everything always depends on the writing: the same pronunciation can correspond to more than one meaning. Ergo more words, distinguishable at that point from the writing (as well as the context).

Here are the most popular theories about the meaning of Fuji:

  • Unparalleled Mountain【不二山】: very popular is the theory that the name of the volcano was originally written with these Kanji-ideograms- to mean "Unrivaled Mountain" (二 is the number two, so "not two").
  • Monte dell'immortalità【不死山】: This interpretation is based on three works of the past: the ancient Chinese chronicles "Shiki" (史記), the Taketori Monogatari (竹取物語) and the Fuji Sanki (富士山記). The first reports the existence of an elixir of immortality on top of the volcano; the third describes the mountain as the home of immortal beings. The fire of Fuji so metaphor of the inexhaustible "fire" of life. The Taketori Monogatari suggests another etymology, however, that of "mountain rich in warriors" (富 = abundance, 士 = warrior).
  • Winterless Mountain【不尽山】: Many people bring back such "inexhaustible being" to the snow because the summit is almost perpetually covered with snow.

These are still theories but, I must say, this last interpretation would be quite precise. Personally I do not disdain even the alternative of the "Mountain without equal", it is certainly right!

The misunderstanding "Fujiyama"

Speaking of Fuji names, it seems necessary to open a parenthesis on the issue "Fujiyama". If only for those who do not know the language. Since it has escaped the pen of its first transcriber, you might also come across this term in some tourist guides. Well, this is a linguistic misunderstanding! An error dating back to the first transcriptions from Japanese to Western languages.

The character 山, which indicates the mountain, is pronounceable with the Chinese reading "san" but also with the Japanese reading "yama". The Chinese reading (on'yomi) is clearly due to the fact that the ideograms come from China. The reading of Chinese origin is mostly taken when you have compound words, otherwise, the Japanese one (kun'yomi) is used. The exceptions are not rare, but Fuji is not among them.

That's why using "Fujiyama" as a translation of "Mount Fuji" (富士山) is an error. 山 " 山 " alone can be read "yama", but next to the name "Fuji" takes the pronunciation "san". Therefore, "Fuji-San" is the only correct pronunciation for 富士山 [Mount Fuji].

If ever, the form "Fuji no Yama" (富士の山 "Fuji mountain") would be admissible since 山 and 富士 are divided by the specification particle の. Actually there is also this expression, but it is obsolete, found in ancient literary works. Some also recognize the possible contraction of this rare term from "Fuji no Yama" to "Fuji-Yama". Even if it was, the eventual absence of the particle の assumes the presence, however, as much as it is understood. This is not the case in the wrong transcription "Fujiyama", where nothing is contemplated between "Fuji" and "Yama". Then, the latter is always an error.

Other courtly or disused versions are:

  • Fu-Gaku (富岳 "Abundant Top");
  • Fuji no Takane (富士の高嶺 "High peak of Fuji");
  • Fuyō-Hō (芙蓉峰 "Lotus Summit").

fuji

photo credits: kyuhoshi.com

The sacredness of the mountains in the Japanese tradition

Mountains and volcanoes have always had a special place in Japanese spirituality, which has given them a special meaning since the beginning. They are seen as mysterious places, home to spirits as good as bad. A mountain or a volcano is definitely a special, sacred place. A deity, or the seat of one or more gods, perceived by the people as the protector of the whole community.

This autochthonous sensibility - pre-existing to Buddhism - was a form of shamanism that resulted in those beliefs and practices that constitute Shintoism. Shintō made nature an object of worship as an earthly manifestation of the Kami (神 Divinity). Not only the mountains but also the rocks, trees, rivers and waterfalls, lakes...all are perceived as the earthly expression of the Kami. Fuji for example is also defined in Shintō as "Yama no Kami" (山の神).
This Shintō practice of mountain veneration is part of the Kannabi Shinkō (神奈備信仰 "Kannabi Faith"). Kannabi" are all those sacred places used to celebrate and give thanks to the Kami; in the case of mountains, the gods or spirits of the mountain.

This autochthonous conception is then intertwined with the Buddhist vision of the mountain as an ascetic place for the search for enlightenment and the realization of Buddhism; the Taoist one, of the mountain as a mystical place, of Yin-Yang harmony and the five elements; the Confucian one, of the mountain as a cosmic place that connects all living beings in the common search for harmony and self-realization (not in a selfish sense, of course).

fuji

photo credits: tripadvisor.com

The ancient faith Fuji: why worship a mountain?

The question is very simple but full of meaning. The Japanese have always looked at Fuji - at nature in general - with the eyes of a child, I dare say. With attention to its behaviour, reacting and adapting their actions accordingly. To begin with, and before anything else, this "looking", alone, is distinctive of the type of approach that distinguishes these people. Then comes into play as they have observed, that is, with attention. Which brings us to step three: their response after what they have caught. An answer as pertinent as the initial, careful, observation. An answer that communicates nothing else but the acknowledgement "I have recognized you, I have recognized your existence; I respect your will". Only a careful perception could lead to this kind of response.

So think of Fuji, so imposing, so perfect...and so explosive in ancient times: the ancient Japanese could only be impressed by such a manifestation. The first settlements of which there are traces are very ancient: they date back to a period between 11,000 and 13,000 years ago, called Jōmon Incipiente (very first Japanese prehistoric era). Well, among other things, stones have been found, whose arrangement indicated unequivocal ceremonial signs!

Its power, together with its grandeur, led the ancient Japanese to fear it and admire it at the same time. They came to the conclusion that that volcano so powerful had to be the expression of a deity or just a deity (神Kami). For obvious reasons, they tended to consider it a deity of fire. So the Fuji began to be worshipped with the intent to avert its eruptions, inevitably interpreted as the wrath of the deity present there.

The nature of this ancient autochthonous faith remains, in any case, a little mysterious, but it should not be surprising. After all, we are talking about really ancient times.

Fire and Water: the dualism of Fuji-Kami

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One thing, however, that can be seen with more confidence is that double attitude/reaction of admiration and fear on the part of the ancient Japanese. Despite its smoky character - pass me the term - of the time, Fuji was not perceived as a mere intractable or evil divinity. It was simply what it was. And the Japanese ancestors also considered its positive aspects...almost all of them converging in a single word: water.

In ancient times the water of Fuji has in fact represented an important source of sustenance for the inhabitants of the surrounding areas as well as for the fauna and flora. Suffice it to say that the abundance of water - and food - was considered a valid reason to want to continue living near the volcano, despite the danger it represented.
Even today the abundant rainfall and snowfall that is poured every year are decisive for the maintenance or formation of rivers and springs underground. And even today the water of the mountains - and the mountains themselves - are seen as a source of fertility (think of rice crops). Moreover, the water of Fuji was also considered sacred, so much so that it was later used for ablutions and purifications for religious/spiritual purposes.

Fuji was therefore seen in a twofold way as fire and water-vulcano and spring, divinity of fire and at the same time source of purification. Fear and respect for the power of the volcano: simply two sides of the same coin. Duality, in truth, is a characteristic of this people (it is found in history, in language...). Apparently, not even Fuji is exempt from it!

mount fuji

photo credits: matcha-jp.com

Sengen-Asama Sanctuaries

The wrath of the divine-Fuji was very frequent between the end of the 8th and mid-10th century. Thus, around the ninth century, the sanctuaries dedicated to it began to sprout like mushrooms, not only on the slopes of the volcano, but throughout the archipelago. We talk about Asama or Sengen (浅間) sanctuaries when it comes to the god of Fuji (浅間の大神Asama/Sengen no Ōkami). The terms Asama and Sengen are only two different readings of the same word. However, while "Asama" can also be found in other mountains, "theengen" ends up identifying all the Fuji sanctuaries of worship, particularly those on its slopes.

It is often read that the Kojiki (古事記) - "Tales of ancient events" - associates the divinity of Fuji to the figure of the goddess Kono Hana Sakuya Hime (木花咲耶姫). According to the myth, the goddess "Princess who makes the trees bloom" is said to descend directly from Izanami and Izanagi, the original creator gods of the Japanese archipelago. While it is true that the oldest Japanese narrative collection narrates about Sakuya-Hime and her father, the god Oyamatsumi (大山津見神 "mountain goddess"), the association to Fuji is not so obvious. In fact, the historian Byron Earhart - among the main sources of this article - warns that this link is actually recent. And that the Kojiki, in fact, would not make any direct connection between Fuji and the goddess.

In any case, it is in such Sengen sanctuaries that those rituals to prevent catastrophes caused by the volcanic god Sengen-Asama take place. In order to calm his anger, he is even given the title of Myōujin (明神 "Illustrious Kami") or "Illustrious Gods". The rituals consisted of rites of pacification and thanksgiving, accompanied by the reading of Buddhist sutras.

In this phase of the cult, however, Fuji is not yet climbed but rather venerated from afar. This is certainly due to the fact that around the 11th century its volcanic activity was still unstable. It is only with the inclusion of Esoteric Buddhism in this framework - and with the end of the eruptions - that religious pilgrimages will begin.

fuji

photo credits: livingnomads.com

Shugendō: where Shintō meets Buddhism

You can't talk about Fuji without talking about Shugendō. It is in fact this practice that significantly increases the popularity of Fuji through asceticism. Shugendō (修験道 "Via della Pratica Ascetica") is the encounter between Shintō tradition and Esoteric Buddhism. A hybrid between native shamanic practices and Buddhist rituality. This "hybridization" consists as much in a mix of elements of each tradition as in a coexistence of the same (some Shintō elements, for example, remain well intact).

The Shugendō takes shape towards the end of the Heian period (794-1185) but the "mountain" Buddhism of the Saichō and Kūkai ascetics of the Nara period is its precursor. As we know, around 1083 Fuji ceased its intense activity. Since then it began to be identified as a place of "apparition of the Buddhas": a place for all those seeking a spiritual path. This path is also understood in the true sense of the word, as witnessed by the spiritual pilgrimages that are becoming more and more a "phenomenon". The practitioners, mainly known as Yamabushi (山伏) or Shugenja (修験者), included different types of ascetics in addition to actual monks.

Its origins can be traced back to the semi-legendary figures of Prince Shōtoku (who would have inspired the above mentioned Saichō) and the mystic-ascetic En no Gyōja or En no Ozunu. Legend has it that both the prince and Ozunu reached Fuji in flight - just in Taoist magician style (仙人 Sen-nin). En no Ozunu is remembered as the legendary founder of Shugendō, the one who would bring rituals and ascetic practices to the mountains.

Shugendō is key because he elaborated and developed the mountain practice born in the Nara era, bringing it to Fuji. And making the latter popular as a place of spiritual asceticism. A fundamental element that characterizes it are the ascetic experiences of its main exponents and the insights they receive from it, determining the syncretization between Kami shintō and Buddhist divinities.

Murayama Shugendō, Matsudai and Raison

If En no Gyōja is the "legendary" founder of Shugendō, more historical are instead Matsudai (end Heian) and Raison (presumably end Kamakura). The two ascetics, which constitute the Shugendō linked to Fuji.

Matsudai, the "Saint of Fuji" (富士上人 Fuji Shōnin) - according to the chronicles the first to climb the mountain - is the one who inaugurated it as a place for ascetic practices. In 1149 he would in fact erected on its summit a first form of a temple dedicated to Dainichi Nyorai (大日如来 the "Great Sun-Buddha"). Thus operating a first syncretism between the divinity of Esoteric Buddhism and Sengen-Asama Ōkami. However, since, then as now, the conditions up there are impervious almost all year round, Matsudai places the base of the neo-movement on the slopes of the mountain. Precisely, in the village of Murayama (today's Fujinomiya)- hence the name "Murayama Shugendō". A complex of temples begins to rise all around the mountain. Since then, Murayama Shugendō becomes a movement of such magnitude that it exerts full control over the mountain (even collecting "tolls" for access to the summit).

But if Matsudai is the forerunner, it is the monk Raison who gives the movement a truly organized structure. Through the network of temples, religious practices and paths - "inaugurated" under Murayama -, Fuji becomes institutionalized.

It is said that Matsudai gives the movement the vertical structure while Raison the horizontal one. Raison opens the ascetic practice on the mountain also to ordinary people, establishing contacts with the so-called lay ascetics (行人 Gyōnin) and leaders of local groups. This already marks a small difference from Matsudai, at that time the movement was more linked to the court and the imperial family (and later to the feudal dominated class).

Raison's work is thus a forerunner to subsequent mass pilgrimages, but it also carries within itself the seed of the decline of the movement. Accomplice the advent of the Sengoku era, with the increase of flows towards the mountain, at a certain point Murayama Shugendō will no longer be able to control all the routes. The killing of the daimyō of Suruga, on which the movement rested, will be the final blow that will mark the sunset of Murayama.

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photo credits: yamabushido.jp, mundo-nipo.com

Fuji-Ko ( 富士講 ), Kakugyō and Miroku

It is, therefore, the interweaving with politics and the ruling classes that drags down the Murayama Shugendō. Also because, the new times required new responses to the new historical paradigms that were occurring. We are in the Sengoku era (戦国), the hard era of the Warring States: an era marked by hunger, general disorder and terrible battles, where nothing was stable. In the context of these dramas, people needed new answers. It is at this juncture that those religious groups known as Fuji-kō originated (富士講). "Confraternities" that were inspired by the popular cult inspired by Fuji and that identified Fuji as their place of worship. The emphasis on the inclusion of all social classes is what distinguishes Fuji-kō from Murayama Shugendō.

It is in this frame that the figures of Kakugyō and - a little later - Jikigyō Miroku (1671- 1733) come into play. Kakugyō with his activity further increases the fame of Fuji, making many ordinary people come to the mountain, going to form such associations (講). Miroku does the same thing, however, with a ritual suicide act on the mountain, which puts Fuji even more in the spotlight. For this reason, both of them are considered inspiring the popular Fuji-kō cult.

The experience of Kakugyō circumvents the Murayama tradition, becoming separate from that of Matsudai and Raison. The revelations he would first receive from the spirit of En no Gyōja and then from the syncretized divinity of Fuji Sengen-Dainichi are fundamental. He would have been revealed that Mount Fuji and its divinity would be the source of all that exists. That all the suffering of that period was due to an imbalance between heaven and earth. And the way to remedy it, that of unifying the Fuji faith in a "cosmological" system of beneficial practices open to all people. From this follows the mission of Kakugyō, to unify practices and beliefs related to Fuji as the basis of the popular cult of Fuji-kō.

The activity of Kakugyō is characterized by purifications and ablutions in the lakes around Fuji. As well as the ascetic practices in the Hitoana (人穴), the caves of the volcano indicated by the essence of En no Gyōja in the first revelation, where he would then "come into direct contact" with the Sengen-Dainichi.

Fuji Mandala

Yes, even in Japan there were mandalas! Originally from India, and passing through China, through Buddhism they also came to the Land of the Rising Sun. We want to remember them, because they were a characteristic and functional tool for Esoteric Buddhism of the Muromachi era. His practitioners used them to reach the understanding of Cosmic Truth and as a support during meditations.

Such mandalas represented the universal order of things-the essence of which is Buddhism and the relationship between it and its earthly manifestations. To embrace this truth in words alone was not considered sufficient and, for this reason, it was recognized in iconographic language as the best way to internalize it. The image, more than the word, seems to be the preferred tool of this people to get in touch with the essence of things. After all, even ideograms, what are they if not images?

Specifically, the Fuji mandalas represent the ambivalent path of the pilgrims - that is, the geographical and spiritual path they decided to take. Typical of this era, the representation of the three peaks of Fuji associated with the triad of Buddhist deities Dainichi, Yakushi and Amida (as well as the Isshin Sangan doctrine 一心三観). So popular was it, that the three peaks became a custom of Fuji iconography. Without prejudice, of course, to the normal variations characteristic of all times.

photo credits: medium.com/@jamesinjapan/

Meisho (名所): the Fuji in the arts

The meisho ("famous locality") are those places sculpted in the collective imagination because they were made famous by the Japanese arts. They are a reflection of that special relationship with nature from which the Japanese have always drawn inspiration. Nature is associated with moods and the image is the best way in which this people can give voice to their innermost feelings. Seasons, rhythms and colors of nature, places...become so essential, in their specificity, to express moods otherwise difficult to describe in words. The attention to nature is thus expressed through an aesthetic sense that transcends the very representation of the "object".

This tendency can already be seen in the Nara period (8th century), when the written tradition had not yet fully established itself. It is from this period the poetic anthology Man'yōshū (万葉集 "Collection of ten thousand leaves"). The Man'yōshū speaks of Fuji as a "mysterious" god, with "burning fires"; he paints it as an ideal mountain and highlights its importance as a protective deity. That one of the very first written works speaks to us immediately about Fuji is indicative. It means that the mountain was somehow "installed" in the collective imagination, like meisho, even before the passage to the written tradition! And this even though at that time it had not yet emerged as an absolute icon (although kami, it was still "only" one of the many existing sacred mountains).

Around the thirteenth century it began to become markedly more protagonist. In the Muromachi period it became central both as a religious subject (as in the Fuji Mandalas) and as a purely landscape icon (ink paintings in Chinese style). Among these, the "Eight Fuji Views" marked the beginning of Fuji's serial representations, inspiring in the Edo period the masterpieces of the masters Hokusai and Hiroshige.

Other famous works in which Fuji appeared: Literature Taketori Monogatari (竹取物語) and Ise Monogatari (伊勢物語) both from the 10th century; novels by contemporary writers Natsume Sōseki and Dazai Osamu. Visual Arts The 11th century Shōtoku Taishi Eden/Emaki paintings on roll; the Ukiyo-e woodcuts by Hokusai and Hiroshige from the 18th-19th centuries; and, of course, photography and cinema in modern times.

Climb Fuji to the present day

There are four possible access routes or routes to the summit. In ascending order of altitude:

  • 1450 m, path Gotemba - the longest of all, without medical care centers, is not very popular;
  • 2000 m, Subashiri trail - less popular and, perhaps because of this, devoid of medical care centers;
  • 2300 m, Yoshida trail - the most popular, because it is easier and full of services (shelters, medical centers...) so ideal for beginners too;
  • 2400 m, Fujinomiya trail - the shortest but also the steepest ever, has a medical center and is on average crowded.

All four start from 5ᵃ station (the term "station" indicates the level of difficulty of the climb): from 7ᵃ to 9ᵃ, the last one, the level is maximum. Between ascent and descent the total time is about 10-12 hours. It is therefore necessary to plan, and keep in mind that part of the ascent will be done at night. In fact, if you want to be present at the sunrise show - destination of almost all visitors - the advice is to calculate well the time in order to reach the refuge between 16.00 and 19.00. To rest until midnight, and then continue the climb for about 4 hours arriving at the top right, right for the dawn (at 4.30!).

The official climbing season runs roughly from the beginning of July to the end of August (maximum, until mid-September). Various Shintō ceremonies open the access to Fuji on July 1st and end with a big torchlight procession to the Yoshida sanctuary on August 26th. To venture outside of these dates is possible...but strongly discouraged! Since the climate is always severe and moreover, out of season, the shelters remain closed. In fact, every year, unfortunately, there are deaths, whether from avalanches, slippage, or frostbite... therefore, unless you are superman, don't go there out of season!

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photo credits: linkedin.com

No to the "Bullet Climbing"

When climbing Fuji, it is recommended in any case to arrive at 5ᵃ station and stop there for at least a couple of hours, before resuming the ascent, so that your body can adapt to climate and altitude; to always hydrate a lot, in addition to taking several breaks during the climb. It is always not recommended, even more so for beginners, to try everything during the daytime hours to return at sunset. While starting the ascent early in the morning and taking it easy, it can be tiring. This is demonstrated by the upsurge in sickness following which the Japanese government itself was forced to dissuade itself from practicing "crazy climbs" or Bullet Climbing.

By the way: did you know that until the 19th century women could only climb up to the 2ᵃ station? There, they were made to wait for the return of their male relatives, but they went further. This is because at one time she was not considered capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of the mountain and that this would have hindered the practitioners in isolation. Just think that the first woman to climb Fuji in 1833 disguised as a man! Also from the 19th century, then, the first foreigners on the summit.

When and where to best admire it

The best seasons in which to admire it without the clouds constantly interfering, are always autumn and winter - from November to February. Especially winter, in December and January, which are played out depending on the weather and climate. Some years the visibility is better in December, others in January.

The visibility is not optimal instead between April and August, especially in the months of April, June and July, when it is particularly reduced; but also in September, being the latter period of typhoons.

In short, what is decisive in terms of visibility, more than the weather conditions (a sunny day is not equivalent to good visibility!), are the seasons.
Between late summer and early autumn, then occurs the phenomenon of Fuji Rosso so defined because of the color that the mountain assumes at dawn. Since the period in which it occurs is precisely circumscribed, assisting you is considered a good omen. In particular for business and fertility (it seems that the Japanese see in Red Fuji a woman in a state of interest!). In general, that brings good luck and makes one's dreams come true.

photo credits: ameblo.jp/ameba20091/

The best time of the day to observe it in full is always in the morning, especially at 8.00 am. The further you go in the day, the less it is visible for the whole day, the better.

From Tokyo it is visible - mist or clouds permitting - especially from: Metropolitan Government Palace in Shinjuku (on the 45th floor, free entrance!), Roppongi Hills, from the iconic Tokyo Tower, but especially from the impressive SkyTree. You can also do it from the 5th floor of Haneda International Airport, open 24 hours a day! Good to know, in case you are waiting for a flight right at dawn...isn't it?

To keep in mind also the location Miho no Matsubara (三保の松原), historical for the view of Mount Fuji. And, in spring, the spectacle of the "carpet" of Shibazakura, pink moss flowers that cover the meadows at the foot of the mountain. Every year the Shibazakura Festival is celebrated for the occasion (芝桜祭).

You can also get a great view from Mount Takao, 1 hour from Shinjuku, ideal if you have to stay close to Tokyo. Finally, a personal opinion: the view of Fuji rising against the backdrop of the city of Yokohama at sunset is simply wonderful. I could observe it from one of the mini cruises available in the bay.

photo credits: pinterest.it


TENOHA Milano presenta: Bulk Homme + Beauty Routine

TENOHA Milano ricorda l’importanza della Beauty Routine anche agli uomini con BULK HOMME! Prima di tutto facciamo un piccolo reminder sul “cos’è” la Japanese Beauty Routine.

TENOHA Milano e la Japanese Beauty routine

Autore: SaiKaiAngel

Con il capitolo 2, TENOHA Milano ci mostra che la Japanese Beauty Routine è una vera e propria dichiarazione per il nostro corpo, un modo per ricordargli ogni giorno che dobbiamo prenderci cura di lui. La prima dichiarazione d’amore infatti va fatta a noi stessi e al nostro benessere. Anche voi, uomini! Nello spazio TENOHA &| SHOP di TENOHA Milano potete farlo! Facciamo una panoramica su che cos’è questo nuovo capitolo della Japanese Beauty Routine e parliamo di BULK HOMME!

TENOHA beauty

BULK HOMME è stato lanciato in Giappone nel 2013, da quel momento la sua ascesa è stata velocissima soprattutto nel mercato D2C diretto al consumatore. Ora, BULK HOMME comprende 18 articoli con distribuzione in tutta l’Asia orientale.
Una particolare attenzione è concessa anche al design, che non solo è molto elegante, ma anche ecocompatibile, particolarità importantissima soprattutto al giorno d’oggi.

TENOHA beauty bulk homme

Ci sono pochi prodotti nella vita per i quali possiamo dire: "Ne ho assolutamente bisogno", con innumerevoli marchi che si contendono la nostra attenzione. Ma vi siete mai chiesti quali qualità sono essenziali per voi? BULK HOMME è un'esperienza unica e rinfrescante che non vedrete l'ora di vivere ogni giorno. Vedrete che ogni giorno la skincare con BULK HOMME diventerà un appuntamento essenziale di cui non potrete mai più fare a meno. Non solo vi aiuterà a fare quella famosa “dichiarazione d’amore” al vostro corpo di cui parlavamo prima, ma sarà anche un momento di distensione non solo della pelle, ma anche di tutto il corpo. Semplice ma emozionante, l'essenziale di tutti i giorni che affascina i sensi. Le soluzioni per la cura della pelle sono efficaci, presentate con stile ed eleganza, e sono un piacere da provare. Regalatevi un momento di piacere solo per voi stessi con BULK HOMME, il marchio per la cura della pelle maschile.

TENOHA beauty TENOHA beauty

BULK HOMME ricorda agli uomini quanto importante sia una buona skincare con tre fasi: il lavaggio del viso, l’uso del toner e della lozione.
Quello che rende i prodotti di BULK HOMME unici, non è solamente in design particolare e la qualità del prodotto in sè, ma anche la loro texture. Solitamente siamo abituati a prodotti con una texture pesante, grassa che alla fine risulta essere non adatta alla nostra pelle, la sentiamo molto soffocante sul nostro viso. Invece la texture dei prodotti BULK HOMME è leggera anche grazie agli ingredienti naturali di qualità tra cui salice, proteine della seta, acqua idratante Onsen ricca di minerali, estratti di Yuzu, mela verde e tè verde.

Bulk Homme

Se sei un uomo non puoi perdere questa occasione di provare i prodotto BULK HOMME che direttamente dal Giappone puoi trovare in TENOHA &| SHOP di TENOHA Milano! Fortunatamente ora c’è questo angolo di Giappone che ci permette di avere i prodotti migliori ad un passo da noi! Nel caso tu non fossi un uomo, ma tu stia cercando un regalo particolare e di qualità da fare ad un uomo, sarai sicura di fare una splendida figura con i prodotti BULK HOMME! E’ sicuramente di cui gli uomini presto non potranno più fare a meno!

Volete provare questi meravigliosi prodotti gratuitamente? Volete vederli e toccarli dal vivo? BULK HOMME promuove i suoi nuovi prodotti attraverso un product testing in TENOHA &| SHOP aperto a tutti i clienti!
Non mancate, vi aspettiamo!

Quando: 26 e 27 settembre | Mattino > 11:00 - 13:00 | Pomeriggio > 15:00 - 19:00
Dove: TENOHA & | SHOP c/o TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano

CAPITOLO #3 - SHIBUI | Trattamento viso con prodotti giapponesi con la founder di Shibui Italia, Raffaella Grisa

“Tratto l’esterno e curo l’interno” è il motto su cui si basa la cura personale secondo Raffaella Grisa: è importante curare il proprio essere interno per far apparire la bellezza esteriore. Si cominci con il relax più totale con l’assaggio di un infuso creato con la foglia di gettou (elemento essenziale della linea di prodotti di cosmesi di Ruhaku) che ci aiuterà a purificare l’interno.

Il vero e proprio workshop comincerà con la specialist di Jbeauty Lorena con un momento meditativo grazie a HITO, una speciale fragranza che cura l’anima e riequilibra i chakra. Solo dopo aver purificato l’anima, si passerà alla cura della bellezza esteriore.

Avete voglia di dedicare un momento di puro benessere, interno ed esterno, allontanandovi da tutto ciò che appesantisce la vostra persona? Questo workshop vi permetterà di farlo! Non perdete questa occasione e concedetevi una giornata solo per voi!

Ovviamente i prodotti sono anche disponibili in TENOHA &|SHOP.

Quando: 7 novembre
# 1 turno 10:30 – 12:00
# 2 turno 14:00 – 15:30
# 3 turno 16:00 – 17:30 (solo se ci fossero altre richieste)

Dove: TENOHA & | WORK c/o TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
Costo: 40€
Posti: 10 a turno

CAPITOLO #4 - DOTERRA | Trattamento con oli essenziali - con Marcella Mosci

Ogni giorno siamo sottoposti a stress e freneticità, causa lavoro e problemi personali. Non pensate che sia il momento di fermarsi un attimo per cercare un po’ di pace ed equilibrio? . Con gli oli essenziali possiamo farlo facilmente e velocemente! In questo workshop creeremo per voi una bio beauty routine a seconda della vostra pelle con creme e oli essenziali. L’esperienza olfattiva guidata dagli oli essenziali, ci insegnerà il loro riconoscimento e la scelta del prodotto più adatto alla nostra pelle.

Ma cos’è esattamente DoTerra? Fondata nel 2008, DoTerra (da un’espressione di origine latina che significa “dono della terra”) è nata con la missione di diffondere i benefici degli oli essenziali con la certificazione CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®), che si contraddistinguono per gli standard di qualità, purezza e sicurezza più elevata di tutto il settore. Insieme a professionisti della medicina tradizionale e alternativa, incoraggia studi e applicazioni degli oli essenziali di grado terapeutico nelle pratiche sanitarie moderne. DoTerra ha anche sviluppato l’iniziativa Co-Impact Sourcing, attraverso la fondazione Healing Hands, che permette uno sfruttamento sostenibile delle risorse per la produzione di oli, il sostegno delle comunità locali e lo sviluppo di progetti di responsabilità sociale.

Quando: 21 novembre
#1 turno 10:30 – 12:00
#2 turno 14:00 – 15:30

Dove: TENOHA & | WORK c/o TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
Costo: 40€
Posti: 10 a turno

Cosa state aspettando? Il momento da dedicare a voi stessi è arrivato! Vi aspettiamo!


Japan History: Saitō Hajime

Saitō Hajime (Yamaguchi Hajime, February 18, 1844 – September 28, 1915) was a Japanese samurai of the late Edo period, who served as the captain of the third unit of the Shinsengumi. He was one of the few core members who survived the numerous wars of the Bakumatsu period. He was later known as Fujita Gorō and worked as a police officer in Tokyo during the Meiji Restoration.

Saitō Hajime of the third unit of the Shinsengumi

Author: SaiKaiAngel

Saitō Hajime

photo credits: wikipedia.org

He was born in Edo, Musashi Province (now Tokyo) as Yamaguchi Hajime and he had an older brother named Hiroaki and an older sister named Katsu. According to the published records of his family, Saitō left Edo in 1862, after accidentally killing a hatamoto (a samurai in the direct service of the Tokugawa shogunate of feudal Japan).

He went to Kyoto and taught in the dōjō of a man named Yoshida who had relied on Saitō's father Yūsuke in the past. His style of swordsmanship is not clear. According to a tradition of his descendants, his style comes from Ittō-ryū and to be a Mugai Ryū that originates from Yamaguchi Ittō-ryū. He is also considered to have learned Tsuda Ichi-den-ryū and Sekiguchi-ryū.

He adherently lived by the Shinsengumi code "Aku Soku Zan" ( literally: "Slay Evil Immediately", but more poetically rendered as "Swift Death to Evil"), though he never has shown much regard for human life, at some points even letting on that he likes to kill. He was rather arrogant, but none of these flaws prevent him from being a superb investigator and fighter. He expected those involved in the military, whether Shinsengumi swordsmen or Meiji era policemen, to carry out their duties without letting their personal feelings interfere.

He believed in peace and order, even in the society created by his former enemies. Throughout the series, to uphold this new peace, Saitō has often been shown as the foil of Himura Kenshin who walks and carries out his duties in the shadows of society in his own way; following his lifelong code of purpose with devotion, Saitō was the man who did the dirty work, killing off the bad persons. Anyone he considered to be corrupt or despotic was a target for elimination, in the honor of his country and his fallen men.

Even if he was normally serious, Saitō had a slight sense of humor that is also a lot sadistic, shown as he used his sword to casually attempt to stab Sanosuke Sagara in the butt through the roof of the horse carriage they were riding with Himura Kenshin.

During the Kyoto Arc, Saitō joined forces with Himura Kenshin to fight against Shishio Makoto. However, he considered Kenshin to be more of an adversary rather than an ally. Later, after acknowledging Himura Kenshin’s vow to never kill again, Saitō decided to put an end to their rivalry.

Saitō was an able observer and a quick analyst (working as a spy for the Meiji government). In addition to being a skilled swordsman, he is revealed to possess immense physical strength when he punched the herculean Sagara Sanosuke in a hand-to-hand fistfight. He considered Sanosuke to be a dimwitted amateur with mild potential, due mostly to Sano's lack of insight.

Saitō was highly recognizable by his narrow eyes, "spider-like" strands of hair in front of his forehead (he was also said to resemble a wolf), his propensity for smoking and the katana on his left side.

Shinsengumi Period

As a member of the Shinsengumi, Saitō was said to be an introvert and a mysterious person; a common description of his personality says he " he was not a man predisposed to small talk" but unusually tall 180 cm. He was also noted to be very dignified, especially in his later years, he always made sure that his obi was tied properly and when he walked he was careful not to drag his feet and he always sat in the formal position, called seiza. He also was very alert so that he could react instantly to any situations that might occur.

He was known to be very intimidating when he wanted to be. Along with his duties as Captain of the Third Squad in the Shinsengumi, he was also responsible for weeding out any potential spies within the Shinsengumi ranks.

His original position within the Shinsengumi was assistant vice commander. During the Ikedaya incident on July 8, 1864, Saitō was with Hijikata Toshizō's group that arrived later at the Ikedaya Inn.

In August 20, 1864, Saitō and the rest of the Shinsengumi took part in the Kinmon incident against the Chōshū rebels. In the reorganization of the ranks in November 1864, he was first assigned as the fourth unit's captain and would later receive an award from the shogunate for his part in the Kinmon incident.

At the Shinsengumi new headquarters at Nishi Hongan-ji in April 1865, he was assigned as the third unit's captain. Saitō was considered to be on the same level of swordsmanship as the first troop captain Okita Sōji and the second troop captain Nagakura Shinpachi. In fact, it seems that Okita feared his sword skill.

Despite prior connections to Aizu, his descendants dispute that he served as a spy. His controversial reputation comes from accounts that he executed several corrupt members of the Shinsengumi; however, rumors vary as to his role in the deaths of Tani Sanjūrō in 1866 and Takeda Kanryūsai in 1867. His role as an internal spy for the Shinsengumi is also questionable; he is said to have been instructed to join Itō Kashitarō's splinter group Goryō Eji Kōdai-ji faction, to spy on them, which eventually led to the Aburanokōji incident in December 13, 1867.

Together with the rest of the Shinsengumi, he became a hatamoto in 1867. In late December 1867, Saitō and a group of six members of the Shinsengumi were charged with protecting Miura Kyūtarō, who was one of the main suspects in the murder of Sakamoto Ryōma. On January 1, 1868, they fought against sixteen assassins who tried to kill Miura in revenge at the Tenmaya Inn for what was known as the Tenmaya incident.

After the outbreak of the Boshin war from January 27, 1868 onwards, Saitō, under the name of Yamaguchi Jirō, participated in the Shinsengumi's fight during the battle of Toba-Fushimi and the battle of Kōshū-Katsunuma, before retiring with the surviving members in Edo and later in the domain of Aizu.

Saitō became commander of the Aizu Shinsengumi around May 26, 1868 and continued in the battle of Shirakawa. After the battle of Bonari Pass, when Hijikata decided to withdraw from Aizu, Saitō and a small group of 20 members separated from Hijikata and the rest of the surviving Shinsengumi, continued to fight alongside the Aizu army against the imperial army until the end of the battle of Aizu. This separation was recorded in the diary of the conservative Kuwana Taniguchi Shirōbei, where it was recorded as an event that also involved Ōtori Keisuke, who Hijikata asked to take command of the Shinsengumi; therefore the aforementioned clash was not with Hijikata.

Saitō, together with the few remaining men of the Shinsengumi who went with him, fought against the imperial army at Nyorai-dō), where they were severely outnumbered. It was during the battle of Nyorai-dō that Saitō was thought to have been killed in action; however, he managed to return to the lines of Aizu and joined the army of Aizu's domain as a member of the Suzakutai. After the fall of the Aizuwakamatsu castle, Saitō and the five surviving members joined a group of former Aizu services who traveled southwest to the Takada domain in Echigo province, where they were held as prisoners of war. In the registers listing the Aizu men detained in Takada, Saitō is registered as Ichinose Denpachi.

Meiji Restoration

Saitō, under the new name of Fujita Gorō, went to Tonami, the new domain of the Matsudaira clan of Aizu. He settled with Kurasawa Heijiemon, the karō of Aizu who was an old friend of his from Kyoto. Kurasawa was involved in the migration of Aizu samurai to Tonami and the construction of settlements in Tonami, particularly in the village of Gonohe. In Tonami, Fujita met Shinoda Yaso, daughter of an Aizu believer. The two met through Kurasawa, who then lived with Ueda Shichirō. Kurasawa sponsored the marriage of Fujita and Yaso on August 25, 1871. It was also during this period that Fujita may have been associated with the Police Office. Fujita and Yaso moved out of the Kurasawa house on February 10. When he left Tonami for Tokyo on June 10, 1874, Yaso moved to Tokyo with Kurasawa and the last registration of the Kurasawa family dates back to 1876. It is not known what happened after that. It was during this period that Fujita Gorō started working as a police officer in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

In 1874 Fujita married Takagi Tokio, the daughter of Takagi Kojūrō, a servant of the Aizu domain. Her original name was Sada; she served for a time as a companion of Matsudaira Teru. Fujita and Tokio had three children: Tsutomu (1876-1956); Tsuyoshi (1879-1946); and Tatsuo (1886-1945). Tsutomu and his wife Nishino Midori had seven children; the Fujita family continues to this day through Tarō and Naoko Fujita, the children of Tsutomu's second son, Makoto. Fujita's third son, Tatsuo, was adopted by the Numazawa family, maternal relatives of Tokyo whose family had been almost annihilated during the Boshin war.

Saitō Hajime

photo credits: wikipedia.org

Fujita fought on the Meiji government's side during Saigō Takamori's Satsuma rebellion, as a member of the police forces sent to support the Imperial Japanese Army.

During his lifetime, Fujita Gorō shared some of his Shinsengumi experiences with a select few, but he didn’t write anything about his activity in the Shinsengumi as Nagakura Shinpachi did. During his life in the Meiji period, Fujita was the only one who was authorized by the government to carry a katana despite the collapse of the Tokugawa rule. In 1875, Fujita assisted Nagakura Shinpachi (as Sugimura Yoshie) and Matsumoto Ryōjun in setting up a memorial monument known as Grave of Shinsengumi in honor of Kondō Isami, Hijikata Toshizō, and other deceased Shinsengumi members at Itabashi, Tokyo.

Following his retirement from Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department in 1890, Fujita worked as a guard for Tokyo National Museum, and later as a clerk and accountant for Tokyo Women's Normal School from 1899.

Saitō Hajime

photo credits: wikipedia.org

Fujita's heavy drinking was believed to have contributed to his death from a stomach ulcer. He died in 1915 at age 72, sitting in seiza in his living room. Upon his will, he was buried at Amidaji, Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima, Japan.


TENOHA &| WORKSHOP: Kintsugi

Another appointment not to be missed at TENOHA Milano, which returns to propose the Kintsugi workshop, after the great success of the previous edition!

Kintsugi workshop with Mariangela Zabatino and Raffaella Nobili

Author: SaiKaiAngel

Kintsugi

Another appointment not to be missed at TENOHA Milano, which returns to propose the Kintsugi workshop, after the great success of the previous edition! Mariangela Zabatino from Anima Mundi, with the collaboration of Raffaella Nobili from Japanese Paraventi, will bring you to the calm and the right concentration that only the Kintsugi technique can give.

To refresh your mind, here is what this technique is about: The kintsugi (金継ぎ), or kintsukuroi (金繕い), literally "repair with gold", is a Japanese practice that consists in using gold, liquid silver or lacquer with gold powder for the repair of ceramic objects. The technique allows to obtain precious objects especially from an artistic point of view. The idea is to demonstrate that from imperfection and a wound can arise an even greater form of aesthetic and inner perfection. From every fragment, from every wound something important is born, from every imperfection can arise a new perfection and a new way of living. We must always learn from mistakes and fractures, so that they can never happen again. The art of kintsugi is often used as a symbol and metaphor of resilience.

Kintsugi is an essential experience for body and mind. Do not miss this opportunity and come to understand the true meaning of "rebirth", obviously always here at TENOHA Milano, the real corner of Japan in Italy! 

Click the following link to book your seat!
BOOK NOW

Details

When: October 4, 2020
10:30 -10:50 start of the course and introductory notes on Kintsugi through slide projection
10:50 -12:30 am -12:30 pm course with the repair of two ceramics

Where: TENOHA & WORK
TENOHA MILANO - Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milan

Cost: 75€ per pax

Pax: Minimum No. 7, Maximum No. 13

Click here for more info:
https://workshops.tenoha.it/


Nagano Firefly Festival

With the advent of COVID-19, many events have been cancelled all over the world, but the firefly festival in Japan doesn't stop and this year the luminous insects dance by themselves.

The solitary dance of fireflies in 2020

Authore: Erika | Source: Japan Times

It is a magical moment when in Tatsuno, in the Nagano prefecture, the sun sets and thousands of fireflies begin to dance and shine, creating a unique spectacle. Usually, this event brings crowds of visitors to the city, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year the spectators are not allowed to attend this event.

In fact, in this wacky 2020, the dance of incandescent insects takes place without spectators because the event has been cancelled. Nevertheless, although many fans were disappointed, an unusually serene and unique atmosphere was created. In fact, the insects do not stop and continue to shine, turning off and on, dancing in the night air. A natural spectacle that lasts only 10 days at the beginning of summer that marks the last chapter of a firefly's life.

Katsunori Funaki says that "The glow is the courting behaviour of fireflies. They glow is used to communicate between the male and female. During the short period of 10 days, they find a mate and lay eggs for the following year".

festival delle lucciole

In short, the firefly festival is a real date not to be missed. In fact, more than 30,000 perform this magic during those 10 days in Tatsuno, in the centre of Nagano prefecture. Mayor Yasuo Takei says "Historical evidence says that a huge number of fireflies were seen along the Tenryu River between the late 19th and early 20th century. These small creatures were almost extinct in the area due to the strong production of silk industries that created pollution.

However, after the Second World War, the city has worked hard to recreate and restore the suitable environment to protect the fireflies that now attract thousands of visitors during the annual summer festival. "When we have a lot of fireflies, we get a spectacular landscape full of lights, with both stars and fireflies shining reflected in the water," said Takei. A unique event and landscape.

festival delle lucciole

Precisely because of the strong importance that this festival has, the city has created a park with ditches to bring fresh water from the river, with waterfalls and an aquatic house rich in oxygen for insects.

Firefly festivals have been held since the end of June in many parts of Japan, and this ritual of luminous courtship is highly celebrated throughout the country.

"Fireflies are creatures that grow for over a year and fly for only 10 days to leave the next generation before they die," said the festival organizer. "We want to take care of them so that they leave their eggs for next year and we will see fireflies dance wonderfully once again.


Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck @ TENOHA Milano

TENOHA Milano is proud to present Memories from the Ordinary, the first exhibition in Milan of Johanna Tagada, French artist who lives and works between London and the Alsatian countryside.

MEMORIES FROM THE ORDINARY Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck

Author: SaiKaiAngel

Johanna Tagada Johanna Tagada

Memories from the Ordinary, curated by Giulia Giazzoli and Joel Valabrega, will be at your disposal in the pop-up spaces of TENOHA Milano. The works range from painting to drawing, and from the collage to textile design and… listen!! In the preview, Johanna Tagada will also exhibit two unpublished works from his series Gestures of Love! An appointment not to be missed.

Gestures of Love

According to the artist, life resides in moments of simplicity, of positivity, in a society that never stops to enjoy these beauties.
His work has a great recognizability: the meticulous choice of color palette carefully studied, the selection of materials and textures that often precedes the work. The soft colors, soft shapes and sustainable materials and we are talking about organic cotton fibers, recycled paper and natural colors. Johanna Tagada's idea of ecology finds its foundation in the deep ecology of Arne Naess, Norwegian philosopher and mountaineer who first used the term ecosophy.

Johanna Tagada

Daily-Practice

Let's take a few examples: in the Tea Vessels series, Johanna Tagada depicts objects related to tea culture in a maximum of twenty minutes, exactly the time of a cup of tea. This is an example of how everyday life can be complemented by meditation, which we carry out in all our daily gestures. The theme of memory emerges strongly in the installation Le Refuge (2016). La Refuge is a large cotton tent inside which Johanna Tagada hand embroidered sentences collected from visitors during her project Épistolaire Imaginaire (2014-2017).

Johanna Tagada

Le Refuge

We are talking about a very lively and prolific artist and she has already had a series of solo exhibitions in London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Strasbourg, in particular:
Strasbourg - Épistolaire Imaginaire - Merci alla Galerie Jean-Francois Kaiser by
Nidi Gallery Tokyo - Take Care - きをつけて.
In 2014 Johanna founded the positive and collaborative cultural project Poetic Pastel. Her continuous research for art also resulted in publishing: in 2018 she co-founded the independent magazine "Journal du Thè" and since 2014 she has been creating "positive and participatory" cultural projects with Poetic Pastel Press. Some of her incredible publications will be on sale in the TENOHA store.

Johanna Tagada Johanna Tagada

To marry everyday life with art, to respect the artist's feelings and to spoil visitors as always, organic teas and infusions will be offered during the exhibition in collaboration with Wilden Herbals Tea.
You cannot miss this opportunity and this unique and sensory experience!

Dettagli

Where: TENOHA MILANO – Pop-up space, Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
When: Dal 9 al 18 settembre 2020 dalle ore 15 alle 21

In collaboration with: TENOHA MILAN
Technical sponsor: Wilden Herbals Tea

Contacts:
Giulia Giazzoli giazzoligiulia@gmail.com
Joel Valabrega joel.valabrega@gmail.com


Movie week @ TENOHA Milano

The great events of TENOHA Milano are back with the STUDIO GHIBLI movie marathon in the MOVIE WEEK! What could be better than these wonderful movies together with the only aperitifs of TENOHA Milano? But let's take a closer look at what Studio Ghibli is.

Marathon Studio Ghibli in TENOHA Milano

Author: SaiKaiAngel

TENOHA Ghibli

Studio Ghibli, Inc. is a Japanese animated film studio. Its anime is known and appreciated throughout the world.

Founded in 1985 by the famous director Hayao Miyazaki together with his colleague Isao Takahata, it was originally founded in 1983 with the beginning of Nausicaä in the Wind Valley (1984), previously serialized in 1982 as a manga by Tokuma Shoten.
"Ghibli" is the name of a hot wind used by Italian pilots in North Africa in World War II and their reconnaissance airplanes. Hayao Miyazaki, who has always had a passion for old aircraft, decided to use this word as a name for the new studio with the phrase: "Let's blow a hot wind in the world of Japanese animation!”

Movie Schedule

Howl's Moving Castle

TENOHA Ghibli

• 18 September 2020 - The Wandering Castle of Howl - ハウルの動く城 (2004)
Young Sophie, 18, works tirelessly in the hat boutique that belonged to her father. During one of her rare outings in the city, she met Howl the Magician. Misunderstanding their relationship, a witch casts a terrible curse on Sophie and turns her into a 90-year-old woman. Prostrate, Sophie flees and wanders the wastelands. By pure chance, she enters Howl's Wandering Castle and, hiding her true identity, gets hired as a cleaning lady. This "old lady", as mysterious as she is dynamic, will soon manage to give new life to the old dwelling inhabited only by a young apprentice, Markl, and the one who runs the Castle, Calcifer, the fire demon. More energetic than ever, Sophie performs miracles. What fabulous fate awaits her? What will happen between her and Howl?

Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

TENOHA Ghibli

• 19 September 2020 - The Enchanted City - 千と千尋の神隠し (2001)
Chihiro, a 10-year-old girl, and her parents are moving when the girl's father takes the wrong road. Thinking he has found an abandoned amusement park, the father enters the complex to visit it, followed by his wife and, reluctantly, Chihiro. The three of them cross the bed of a dry river and find themselves in a city composed entirely of restaurants and clubs, and on a counter they find a rich buffet. Parents sit down and start eating, thinking they will pay when someone shows up. Chihiro meanwhile explores the area and finds a large spa complex. A young boy, Haku, orders her to leave, but on her way back she discovers that her parents have become pigs and that she can't cross the flooded river.

Kaze no tani no Naushika

Studio Ghibli

• 20 September 2020 - Nausicaä in the Wind Valley - 風の谷のナウシカ
Following a cataclysm that devastated the entire planet, a toxic forest covered most of the Earth's surface. In this apocalyptic scenario, where a new war is about to explode, the kingdom of the Wind Valley - ruled by Jihl, father of the brave Princess Nausicaä - is one of the few areas still populated. Nausicaä has two gifts: being able to ride the wind flying like birds and being able to communicate with the Ohm, the giant insect guardians of the forest. Thanks to her skills and the love and esteem of her people, Princess Nausicaä will undertake a courageous challenge to restore peace and reconcile humanity with the Earth.

Details

When: September 18 - 19 - 20
Aperitif from 18:00 to 20:00
Screening from 18:00

Where: & | DISCOVER, TENOHA MILANO via Vigevano 18, 20144 Italia
Cost: special aperitif € 12 + free entry to the cinema
Seats: 20 Max (subject to availability)


Japan History: Yamaoka Tesshu

Ono Tetsutaro, better known as Yamaoka Tesshu, was born in Tokyo on June 10, 1836. His father was Ono Asaemon, of the Tokugawa court, and her mother Iso was the daughter of a monk of the Kashima temple. At the age of 9 he began the practice of Jikishinkage ryu and a few years later the Hono ha Itto ryu, while at the age of 17 he started the study of the spear with the master Yamaoka Seizan, who died prematurely two years later. Tetsutaro was adopted into the master's family, and married his sister, taking the name Yamaoka Tesshu.

Yamaoka Tesshu e la sua storia

Author: SaiKaiAngel

Yamaoka Tesshu

photo credits: musubi.it

Although he had a not negligible physicality, considering his 185 cm height and his weight of 110 kg, he was able to assert himself only with his incredible personality and sensitivity. However many times he was not able to stop himself, even to the point of denying the existence of Buddha, sentient beings and realization. Nothing to give and nothing to receive.
At that point, Master Dokuon struck him with his pipe and said: "If nothing exists, then where does this anger come from?”

From the world of the sword, he received many teachings. In one of the meetings with master Sasakibara Kenkichi, he stood still for 40 minutes together with his opponent, facing each other in their respective guards until both rested their weapons. At the age of 28, Tesshu was unexpectedly defeated by the 40-year-old Asari Gimei, master of the Nakanishi Ha Itto-ryu school. From that moment on, he could no longer give peace to the idea of defeat against an older man, of whom he had become a disciple but failed to understand his teaching. Asari, without hitting him, forced him to step back out of the dojo by closing the door in his face.
Tesshu's introspective study lasted 16 years, without being able to understand what was wrong with his technique, his lifestyle, despite the training and Zen teachings. On March 30, 1880, Tesshu during a zazen session went to Asari and asked him for a new fight. Asari declined, justifying himself with these few words, "Now you have arrived". From that moment he left teaching and his school to Tesshu who succeeded in developing a method called Muto ryu (school without sword) different from the Itto ryu especially in teaching, still practised but by a very small group of people. He died on July 19, 1888, at fifty-three years of age due to stomach cancer. Before dying, he wrote his Jisei no ku (poem of death), closed his eyes and, even in death, did not abandon his style assuming the formal posture of zazen, as can be seen from the drawing of his disciple Tanaka Seiji.

During Tesshu's funeral at the Zensho-an temple the monk Tekisui composed these verses:

Sword and brush balanced between Absolute and Relative
His loyal courage and noble strength pierced Paradise.
A dream of fifty-three years,
Wrapped by the pure fragrance of the flourishing lotus in the middle of the roaring fire.

Again, Katsu Kaishu, a great swordmaster, wrote the following words next to a portrait of Tesshu:

Valiant and wise, this virile man accomplishes great things
His sword was incomparably sublime
Its illumination embraced everything
Will future generations ever see the same?

Explanation of Mute Ryu

Yamaoka Tesshu

photo credits: wikipedia.org

The goal of Muto Ryu is "no enemy". Everything depends on the mind. If we imagine a very skilful opponent, our sword stays still, if we imagine a weak opponent, the mind opens and the sword is free. This is proof that nothing exists except the mind. Taken by agitation, a warrior would move the sword without thinking and confusedly without hitting the opponent. From this idea was born the school of non-sword (Muto ryu). Out of mind there is no sword, this means: not sword corresponds to not mind; not mind means a mind that is stable everywhere. If the mind stops, the opponent appears; if the mind keeps moving there is no enemy. Continuous and intense training leads to the stage of no enemy.

Tesshu's method required intensive and incessant training focused mainly on basic principles. The first 3 years were dedicated to the study of the 5 basic kata of Muto ryu and it was forbidden to follow in that period the teachings of other schools. Three levels of seigan were foreseen for advanced students, who were admitted only after having passed a trial period consisting of 1000 consecutive days of training. In order to pass the first seigan level, 200 sword fights had to be fought in a single day; the second level provided for 3 days with 600 fights and the third, 7 days with 1400 fights.

The name of Yamaoka Tesshu's dojo, Shumpukan, comes from a poem by Chinese monk Bukko Kokushi:

In heaven and on earth there are no points to hide
Joy belongs to those who recognize that things
They are empty and man is also nothing.
Splendid indeed the long Mongolian swords
Blasting the spring wind like a flash of light

The shumpu, the spring wind, gave the name to the dojo.

The writings of Yamaoka Tesshu

Below we have some writings by Tesshu that better describe his strong personality:

Return to the Beginner's Mind, August 1882

If the wonders of swordplay elude you, it returns to the beginner's mind. The beginner's mind is not just any kind of mentality: striking as the only intention without thinking about the movement of the body and moving forward with force is proof that you have forgotten yourself. Technicians are hindered by analytical thoughts. When the obstacle of a discursive approach is overcome, the wonders of the art of the sword can be appreciated. In the beginning, it is necessary to practice with well-tempered swordsmen in order to discern one's own inadequacies. Pursue your study to the end, awaken your irresistible strength, practice tirelessly until your heart is immovable, and then you will understand. Practice until no doubt remains. Surely the time will come to discover the wonders.

From Itto shoden Muto Ryu Kanaji Mokuroku: Suigetsu (the moon in the water), April 10, 1884.

Even when the water from a puddle is moved in the ladle, the moon is reflected in it. The moon's reflection is not lost when the water moves from ladle to ladle. When you are disturbed, then there is no reconnaissance; the moon does not appear in the agitated water. If your mind is calm and the ladle is still, the moon's reflection is maintained.

Do not concentrate
When hitting your opponent
Move naturally
Like moonbeams penetrating
In a homeless hut

You may be unhappy with a roofless hut, but the same moon that illuminates the skies naturally fills it with its light. So, you can attack your opponent and win. Regardless of keeping your little self, charge towards your opponent. If you are confused or nervous you will surely lose.

Other Famous Phrases

As a samurai, I must strengthen my character; as a human being I must perfect my spirit

Thirst for victory leads to defeat; not tiring of defeat leads to victory.

If you want to obtain the secrets of such wonderful techniques, drill yourself, harden yourself, undergo severe training, abandoned body and mind; follow this course for years and you will naturally reach the most profound levels. To know if the water is hot or cold you must taste it yourself.

Zen is like soap. First, you wash with it, and then you wash off the soap.

Do not think that this is all there is. More and more wonderful teachings exist.
The world is wide, full of happenings. Keep this in mind and never believe 'I'm the only one who knows.'

The moon does not think to be reflected, nor does the water think to reflect, in the Hirosawa Pond.

Unfortunately, many of his writings are apocryphal, but that does not make them less profound and important for life than anyone who has read them. We think that they can be a help even nowadays in many situations.

Political and Social Life

Yamaoka Tesshu

photo credits: wiki.samurai-archives.com

Tesshu also had an active political and social life as a negotiator. He was first in the service of the shogun, so at the end of the war Boshin in 1869 treated the surrender in front of the siege of the imperial forces commanded by Saigo Takamori.

His success was the fact that he focused on establishing contact with the enemy forces, with linear but provocative conduct: he intimidated the enemy of the emperor to let him pass without fear.

If we think of Tesshu's impetuous character, never willing to give in to compromises, it is really strange to see him as a great negotiator. In his short and adventurous life he was also the emperor's bodyguard, with his readiness of reflexes and decisions.