immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)

Teaching Resources

Osorezan (Mt. Dread)

(see Immortal Wishes, p. 31,196)



Osorezan, on the Shimokita peninsula of eastern Aomori Prefecture, is one of Japan's most prominent sainokawara (banks of the underworld river Sai), a sulphurous landscape believed to hover between the world of the living and the world of the dead. It is especially renown for its summer festival in late July, at which many itako spirit mediums hold consultation sessions.

Thousands of Jizo statues are located on the Entsuji temple grounds; The bodhisattva Jizo, it is believed, eases the torments of dead children and other lost souls in the void between the worlds. Many visitors aid the suffering souls by adding stones to the piles that the dead children are said to errect.

Although there are no formal relationships between Akakura Mountain Shrine and Osorezan or Entsuji Temple, some kamisama spirt mediums associated with Akakura do travel to Osorezan on behalf of their clients and patients.


Internet Resources on Osorezan

NOTE: Since there is a staggering amount of misinformation about Osorezan on line, many of these internet sources should be consulted with considerable scepticism.

Film website: A Sacred Mountain Osorezan (directed by Yasuhiro Omori)

This websiite contains fascinating on line video clips of ritual performance at Osorezan, taken from Omori's 1994 film.

Osorezan Photographs


Japan Travel: A Day on Fear Mountain



Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)