immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)


Teaching Resources

Mt. Iwaki

(see Immortal Wishes, pp. 32-35)

In many respects,the three-peaked Mt. Iwaki, a great volcanic cone arising out of the southern Tsugaru plain, dominates the Tsugaru popular religious imagination.

The mainstream Iwaki Mountain Shrine (Iwakiyama Jinja) is located at the base of the southern slope of the mountain.

The northeast section of Mt. Iwaki is considered to be its own sacred mountain, "Akakura", and is also seen as having three peaks (less discernible to the untrained eye). These rugged slopes are the sites of many small-scale unorthodox and alternative shrines, many of them associated with kamisama spirit mediums. One of these is Akakura Mountain Shrine, the subject of the book "Immortal Wishes"

Mount Iwaki Internet Resources

Iwaki Shrine Tower Gate

Background on Iwakiyama Shrine.


Webpage on the Oyama-sankei, the annual procession  to the summit of Mt. Iwaki from Iwakiyama Jinja.

Iwaki-san Mt. Iwaki Conservation Association        (in Japanese)

Includes  a letter (in English) on environmental dangers to the mountain’s ecosystems.

Dazai on Mt. Iwaki

Cites novelist Osamu Dazai’s famous meditations on Mount Iwaki

Photo Gallery: Mt. Iwaki

An extensive photo gallery of  Mt. Iwaki snapshots  (text in Japanese)



Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)