Yatsugatake walk vol.8

a perfect guide of Yatsugatake area for tourists

Mountains, literature and people (P.4-5)

The mountains of Yatsugatake and Minami Alps often inspired the work of literary people. This is a brief journey through the lives of people living in this rich landscape where the mountains gently intertwine with literature.


In a way that mountains are easily understood

Mountaineering guide Mr. Hiroshi Hashizume was raised in Kiyosato overlooking the famous mountains of the Minami Alps, Yatsugatake, and Mt. Fuji. Today he is still living in Kiyosato. Despite this, he had no interest in the mountains until his 40s.
The trigger was a pair of mountain shoes he had to buy for the "Earthwork" project. "After I had bought the shoes, I thought I also could use them to climb the mountains and went up Akadake. This was my first experience with mountaineering."
After that, he started climbing mountains more frequently and began to work as a guide in his late 40s. This was what led Mr. Hashizume to start read mountain literature.  
"I used to read books in my late teens and twenties, but I never read mountain books. It was only after I climbed Akadake that I started to visit mountain bookshops for books about mountaineering."
Mr. Hashizume is interested in the "viewpoint of things" based on the natural history of the literary people of the Taisho and Showa eras and their philosophy of humans. "They write from an intellectual perspective about the mountains and nature. There is great charm in there. I have many times thought while climbing about how different it would have been if I had not known about it."

Since he started to work as a guide, he feels the need to tell about the mountains to others objectively. "If you can not do it without understanding it yourself, nor can you be subjective. I can say I became to understand the mountains by becoming a guide."
"I also realized that I liked to tell people about things." Adding that it also helped deepen his understanding of himself.
For Mr. Hashizume, it is not only about guiding safely, but also about conveying the appeal for the mountains. For this, the viewpoint on the mountains of the literary people is at the root of each step.


Hiroshi Hashizume
Born and raised in Kiyosato, Takane town, Hokuto city.  Graphic designer, mountaineering guide. Author of "Yatsugatake-Minami alps mountain profile" featured elsewhere in this issue.

Literature is expressing about people and nature

Mr. Shinsuke Suzuki is the director of the Hinoharu Alps museum. The museum collects mountain books and paintings in Nagasaka. He used to be a librarian at a university library for many years. One day he was invited by a colleague to climb a mountain. "I must have been about 30 years old... It was the first time I went, and it was fun. You know, about the mountains, it is not only about following the mountain trail to the top. There is so much more to it, like a rock covered by vegetation, trees and shrubs, birds, and insects. There are valleys, and flowing rivers and waterfalls with fish. It gives a feeling of something very comprehensive. You can say this about the mountains: everything is closely connected. When you go to the mountains, there are deer. Then there is the damage caused by deer, and then there is hunting... and so, interest growth from one thing to another. Then, when dealing with books and magazines about mountains professionally, you will get more and more fascinated by these mountains. "I think you can be influenced by the mountains when they are integrated into texts, pictures, or photos. So, when I read about the wonderfulness of the mountains during the winter, and go to see them later, they are indeed magnificent."

“There are various ways to mountain-walking. In addition to regular mountain climbing, some only focus on mountain streams or waterfalls. Besides the Yatsugatake, others may have an interest in traversing mountain passes, or walking the ridge-lines... It is personal.”

Mr. suzuki said that he personally prefers to just rambling in the mountains. "Making my own way in the mountains, with a compass and map. This way the mountain becomes a part of me and I blend into the mountain. It feels as if I become one with the mountain. After all, this is what is deeply embedded in the writings.”
Mr. Suzuki said that to him literature is about the expression of people and nature.

“There can be no expression that is not related to nature. Writings are ultimately staged on the background of the land and nature that influence the character and temperament of people.
And, he always points out the affinity between the mountains and literature. “Both mountains and mountain walks are rich in a variety of elements.
Literature can freely take in the richness of the mountain. Writers and photographers are capable to express everything in their own unique way, through their ability of observation and interpretation. In other words, They are better able to assimilate with the mountains.

“Kihachi Ozaki, Magoichi Kushida, Akihisa Yamaguchi, Muneyasu Tezuka, Makoto Tsuji, Kyuya Fukada...you could say that these writers are associated with the magazine "Alp.”
Mr. Suzuki strongly feel that they have a sense of unity with the mountains. The “Mountain collection” corner in the museum contains many works by them.  

Shinsuke Suzuki
Born in Hokkaido. Opened the “Hinohara Alp Museum” in 1998 while working as a University librarian.