Group of 100 Devotees of Koyasan and Kumano


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Yomo Oguro


Yomo Oguro is a poet. She was born in Kada in Wakayama City. In addition to other commitments, she is an editorial committee member of the Reiro Society, the director of the Osaka Poets’ Club, a member of the Contemporary Poet’s Society and a member of the Japan Writers’ Association.
She studied tanka-style short-form poetry while working as a pastel artist, and in 1999 she published thirty of her poems as an award-winning collection entitled Komoriku. Since then, Koyasan and Kumano have been key themes in her work.
In addition to Komoriku, she has also published Sarume, Ame-tatasu Shuryaku, Yatsutoko-dotsuko and Fune ha Yurikago. She has also published the essay collections, Kumano no Mori-dayori and Kiki ni Asobu. Oguro contributed to a special edition of the tanka poetry journal Tanka no Tabi focused on Koyasan and Kumano, and she also took part in a tanka and haiku competition held in commemoration of Saigyo Hoshi and Minakata Kumagusu, both of whom were from Wakayama Prefecture.

An awakening of pure fear and awe

You feel something when you are out there, deep in those mountains.
Perhaps you could call it “the vastness of nature,” but that just doesn't feel adequate. It is something primal and visceral, something that affects you on an instinctual level.
It is an “awakening of pure fear and awe” that our ancient ancestors felt.
Gods and spirits and people and insects and flowering plants all live jumbled together amidst the incredibly wet, lush mountain forests of Kumano. It is a place where existence takes on real substance and weight.
Ascetics seek out the mountains and rivers to find enlightenment. They look to the steadfastness of the rocks, the perpetual cleansing of the waterfalls, the darkness-dispelling power of the sunlight...they look to the power that resides in each part of nature in order to draw spiritual power from it.
 Once you have dissolved amongst the trees and exhaled deeply, you are truly emptied of everything. You are the water that gushes from the rock face; you are the mist that rises into the air; you are the chirping of the birds; you race between the mountain peaks and valleys as you please.  
We climb above the mist to the ridgeline above, where the sacred straw ropes of surefooted mountain hermits have been hung.

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