Mount Osorezan: Background information when reading People from My Neighborhood

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People from My Neighborhood

Stories

by Hiromi Kawakami

People from My Neighborhood by Hiromi  Kawakami X
People from My Neighborhood by Hiromi  Kawakami
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  • Paperback:
    Nov 2021, 176 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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Mount Osorezan

This article relates to People from My Neighborhood

Bodaiji Temple at Mount Osore Mount Osorezan, or Mount Osore, is located on the northern end of Honshu, the largest of the four main islands of Japan. An active volcano, its name translates to "Fear Mountain." It's a popular pilgrimage site because of its Buddhist temple and because of the occasional presence of the itako — female mediums believed to be able to contact a visitor's deceased loved ones. In People from My Neighborhood, the narrator's best friend's sister becomes one of these mediums. The itako are usually blind (a tradition that dates back to the medieval period, when such an occupation was one of the few avenues for the blind to pursue) and undergo extensive spiritual training. They are sought out in particular by attendees of the Bodaiji festival on the mountain, held each year in July. The itako are, according to the New York Times, "among the last remaining adherents to ancient shamanistic beliefs that predate Buddhism." In 2009, when a Times journalist visited Osorezan, there were only ...

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