"Kuitenkaan ihminen ei voi voittaa vuorta" : japanilaisen Wandervogel-klubin jäsenten käsitykset vaeltamisesta ja vuorista
Instigated by the author’s four-and-a-half month long membership in the Wandervogel hiking club of Kanazawa University, Japan, this study focuses on the experience of hiking in the mountains from a phenomenological perspective. This period of preliminary fieldwork is drawn upon as a source of inspiration and firsthand experience rather than as research material itself, the bulk of which consists of twelve answers given by members of Wandervogel in an unstructured Google Docs questionnaire. Both during and after the lengthy process of translating these answers from Japanese into Finnish, the method of close reading was applied in order to not only uncover their apparent content but to point out possible implicit connotations as well. There are three key concepts employed in order to better illustrate and analyze the phenomenon of ascending a Japanese mountain: nature, experience, and the sacred. The first one is discussed at length vis-à-vis the concept of culture in the Japanese context as well as the alleged special love of nature the Japanese are often said to possess. This discussion forms the underlying framework that is necessary for perceiving hiking as a time-intensive excursion out of the built environment and into the unbuilt, the contrast of which two is particularly stark in Japan. The bodily nature of the hiking experience is shed light upon while defining the second concept and the integral but often unvoiced connection between bodily experience and being in the world is presented. Finally, the elusive concept of the sacred is discussed from three different perspectives. The ideas of phenomenologist of religion Mircea Eliade and anthropologist of religion Veikko Anttonen are combined with ideas of the sacred as expressed in studies of Japanese folklore in order to make better sense of this concept that seems to defy all attempts at conclusive definition. The aesthetic appeal of viewing the surrounding scenery seems to lie at the core of the hiking experience. This is intertwined with other major contributing themes such as a feeling of nature being austere and something greater than man. The sense of achievement upon reaching the summit is directly related to the struggles one faces during the ascent. In the eyes of the Wandervogel members, mountains appear to be particular, out-of-the-ordinary places where it becomes possible to encounter experiences that are unattainable in everyday life. Mountains are also considered worthy symbols of Japan both due to their geographical omnipresence as well as their historical role as objects of nature worship. Most members don’t hesitate to call such famous mountains as Mt. Fuji, Mt. Haku, and Mt. Tate sacred but considerable variation is found in how this sacred is defined. Some validate the term on the basis of their belief that mountains are still the abodes of the gods while others view the sacred more broadly as something that deserves the respect and proper conduct of those climbing the mountain. Still others deny seeing any transcendental qualities in the sacred but view it as the recognition of the importance and weight of the long history the mountains possess. ...
Alternative titleJapanilaisen Wandervogel-klubin jäsenten käsitykset vaeltamisesta ja vuorista
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