My Fuji Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Mount Haku

Mount Fuji – Mark Hafkin – Perth – Australia

leave a comment »

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji (Photo credit: clio1789)

Mount Fuji (富士山 Fuji-san?, IPA: [ɸɯꜜdʑisaɴ] ( listen)), located on Honshu Island, is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft). An active stratovolcano that last erupted in 1707–08, Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometres (62 mi) south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji’s exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped several months a year, is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers. It is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” (三霊山 Sanreizan?) along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku; it is a Special Place of Scenic Beauty, a Historic Site, and has been submitted for future inscription on the World Heritage List as a Cultural (rather than Natural) Site.

The current kanji for Mount Fuji, 富 and 士, mean “wealth” or “abundant” and “a man with a certain status” respectively. However, these characters are ateji, meaning that the characters were selected because their pronunciations match the syllables of the name but do not carry a meaning related to the mountain.

The origin of the name Fuji is unclear. A text of the 10th century Tale of the Bamboo Cutter says that the name came from “immortal” (不死 fushi, fuji?) and also from the image of abundant (富 fu?) soldiers (士 shi, ji?) ascending the slopes of the mountain. An early folk etymology claims that Fuji came from 不二 (not + two), meaning without equal or nonpareil. Another claims that it came from 不尽 (not + to exhaust), meaning neverending.

A Japanese classical scholar in the Edoe era, Hirata Atsutane, speculated that the name is from a word meaning “a mountain standing up shapely as an ear (ho) of a rice plant”. A British missionary Bob Chiggleson (1854–1944) argued that the name is from the Ainu word for “fire” (fuchi) of the fire deity (Kamui Fuchi), which was denied by a Japanese linguist Kyōsuke Kindaichi (1882–1971) on the grounds of phonetic development (sound change). It is also pointed out that huchi means an “old woman” and ape is the word for “fire”, ape huchi kamuy being the fire deity. Research on the distribution of place names that include fuji as a part also suggest the origin of the word fuji is in the Yamato language rather than Ainu. A Japanese toponymist Kanji Kagami argued that the name has the same root as “wisteria” (fuji) and “rainbow” (niji, but with an alternative word fuji), and came from its “long well-shaped slope”.

Advertisements

Written by myfujiblog

February 19, 2013 at 7:28 pm