Mountains in the Japanese culture

Mountains in the Japanese culture

When? October 6th, 2017 at 19:00
Where? Domus Dorpatensises (Ülikooli 7/Raekoja plats 1, Tartu)
How much? Free
The Facebook event

Japan is a land of hundreds of valleys surrounded by high mountains. People have been living in these small secluded universes since the prehistoric times. Every valley has its geographic and climatic characteristics, but as a living environment they are all rather similar – from the bottom of the valley, tall mountain ranges where humans have no business rise in the distance, lower hills near the villages are separated by rivers that feed the swampy areas below. The forests growing on the mountains are inhabited by deer, wolves, bears, snakes, and other wild animals. Although the forests are visited for hunting purposes, no-one lived there, save for a few strange ascetics who according to the villagers knew how to talk to birds and animals. For the people of the valley, the mountain is sacred to this day and a distant world where one must not venture alone. In this lecture we will see how the Japanese understanding of the mountains has been expressed in their culture – in literature, cinema, manga, and anime.

Alari Allik (Ph.D) works at the University of Tallinn as the head of the Asian studies department. He has researched medieval Japanese budistic authors and philosophers whose writings he has also translated to Estonian. In addition to the University of Tallinn he has been working at the Embassy of Japan in Tallinn and complemented himself in Tokyo and Osaka.