immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)


Akakura Mountain Shrine Rituals

The Mountain Opening Ceremony (Yamabiraki)
May 1st.   (see Immortal Wishes, pp. 94-103)

Most years, the coiled rope is carried by young men from the shrine up most of hte mountain path, and is only uncoiled several hundred meters below the waterfall of Fudo. As the congregation enters the mouth of the Akakura gorge, everyone pauses to grab hold of the rope as it is stretched out taut.

All sing the shrine hymn "Saigi, Saigi" (Repentance, Repentance) accompanied by traditional Tsugaru musicians. A shrine official blows a horn in the background.

Start of Mountain Opening

To see video clip of the congregation carrying the rope, as they sing "Saigi, Saigi", click here or on the image.

(1.3 MB)

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Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)