Group of 100 Devotees of Koyasan and Kumano


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Nori Nakagami


Nori Nakagami was born in Tokyo in 1971. She works as an author. She graduated from the Department of Art History in the Faculty of Art at the University of Hawaii. In 1999, she received the Subaru Literature Prize for Kanojo no Purenka. She has traveled in Asia, the United States, and Kumano while writing novels, essays, and travel diaries. She also serves as a part-time instructor at Nihon University and Musashino University. In addition, she has been involved with Kumano University, a cultural organization founded by Kenji Nakagami in his hometown of Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture, since her days as a student. She currently plans and serves as an instructor in the organization’s summer seminar. Her principal works include Irawaji no Akai Hana, Yume no Funatabi: Chichi Nakagami Kenji to Kumano, Itsuka Monogatari ni Naru Made, Ajianetsu, Tsukihana no Tabibito, Umi no Miya, Kumano Monogatari, and Tengu no Kairo. Her most recent book is Takushii Gaaru (Basilico).

Kumano and Koyasan as a spiritual hometown for everyone

I was born and raised in Tokyo, but since my father is from Kumano, I’ve thought of the Kii Peninsula as my genetic roots since I was little. My family had a tradition of all getting into the car and driving to Shingu every summer and winter, and we spent those long holidays there in their entirety. I lived in Kumano for about half a year when I was in elementary school. Although it was only as an adult that I learned how Kumano has been a sacred pilgrimage site since ancient times, when the road was so crowded that people likened it to the “ants’ pilgrimage,” and how it is a place of healing with a multi-layered history, I intuited these things even as a child, without needing to be told. That's because I took for granted that Kumano’s mountains were deeper in color than anywhere else, and that its ocean waters were bluer than any other ocean. It was a place where the gods speak to nature. The mountains of the Kii Peninsula are full of prayer and gentleness. I think it’s fair to say that people have sought nature here since ancient times. My hope is that as many people as possible will experience this World Heritage as the spiritual hometown of humankind.

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