July 31, 781: Mount Fuji erupts for the first time in recorded history. The beautiful volcano situated 62 miles to the west of Tokyo, Japan is more complex than it looks. The highest mountain in Japan lies on the boundary between Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures on the island of Honshū. It is actually a dual volcano that formed over the eons, erupting hundreds of times, and created the perfectly cone-shaped mountain that we see today.
The mountain is a tourist attraction as well on of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains.” It was first climbed by an anonymous monk in 663. It was forbidden for women to climb the sacred mountain until the Meiji Era . It is still illegal to ascend the mountain without police escort outside the climbing season. Each year, about 200,000 people scale this 12,388 feet peak using paved paths and several rest stops.
The last recorded eruption was in 1707, called the Hoei Eruption after the era name. This eruption produced ash that drifted and settled as far away as Edo, today known as Tokyo. It is considered to be an active volcano with low risk of eruption. There are three cities surrounding the peak with Gotemba to the south, Fujiyoshida to the north and Fujinomiya to the southwest. There have been seismic tremors recorded in the area since October 2000 with more than 100 earthquakes recorded in April 2001.
Mount Fuji has not always been written with the same kanji, or Japanese characters. Today, there are two kanji used to write the name with one meaning wealth or abundant, and the other meaning man with a certain status. They were possible selected for their pronunciation rather than their meaning. Other names or kanji have been used for the great mountain in the past with the true history last to the mists of time. Whatever it is called, the peak rises majestically and is beautiful.
“Each and every master, regardless of the era or the place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit – love.” – Morihei Ueshiba
“Aspire to be like Mt. Fuji, with such a broad and solid foundation that the strongest earthquake cannot move you, and so tall that the greatest enterprises of common men seem insignificant from your lofty perspective. With your mind as high as Mt Fuji you can see all things clearly. And you can see all the forces that shape events; not just the things happening near to you.” – Miyamoto Musashi
“There are two kinds of climbers, those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” – Alex Lowe
“We climb mountains because we like it.” – John Hunt
Also on this day, in 1930 The Shadow came to radio.