2018 Volume 83 Issue 746 Pages 745-754
From ancient times, mountains have been worshiped in Japan. Mt. Fuji is archetypal, and the stone huts that served its pilgrims can be regarded as the original form of current mountain huts. Nowadays, since Mt. Fuji is a World Cultural Heritage site, its huts are required to be historically based. Although some historical materials describe the stone huts that existed during the Edo era, the changes stone huts underwent during the era of great transition from worship-ascent to alpinism remain unclear. To investigate these changes, we examined historical materials, held interviews, and conducted field surveys on the Yoshida trail, from where great numbers of pilgrims who belonged to Fuji-ko societies made worship-ascent.
At the start of the Meiji era, although Fuji-ko was reorganized after the separation of Shinto and Buddhism, stone hut owners, who had recorded the location and scale of each hut since the late Edo era, were still permitted to manage them under the Yamanashi prefectural governor. Since the middle of the Meiji era, railway lines to the foot of Mt. Fuji were gradually connected. By increasing the number of climbers, and even pilgrims, Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures issued regulations for individuals living on the mountain to ensure the safety of climbers and improve sanitation. Chiyozaburo Takeda, the Yamanashi prefectural governor, then decided to repair the trail and renovate some facilities, especially at the eighth station, to make Mt. Fuji an international tourist site. In Meiji 40th (1907), one stone hut was renovated into a post office, a police box, and a first aid station, and the other two into lodgings. A model lodging designed by government engineers, the Fujisan Hotel, was then built. It had a completely different appearance from stone huts (structure, lighting and ventilating facilities, two berths, etc.). With cooperation between the government and some local citizens, the Fujisan Hotel was realized as modern architecture. Some oshi and locally influential people responded to Takeda by founding a stock company to manage the huts at the eighth station. The former had quickly changed their shukubo to ryokans, and the latter had built a fortune in business from the Edo era. As a model, Takeda had expected other stone huts to develop independently, but this did not go as planned.
By the end of the Taisho era, the stone hut sites where trails met at the fifth, sixth, and the eighth stations were expanded. Although the size of these huts may also had changed, many seem to have retained their forms from the late Edo era. On the other hand, at the seventh station, where no trails met, only one-third of the stone huts expanded their sites, in particular, the one hut had changed the facade with no cinders stacked around the wall, i.e. more open. These changes were managed by the owners of the stock company. In addition, around the time of the Great Kanto Earthquake in Taisho 12th (1923), a mountain hut and a post office were built at the eighth station, and a king post was introduced by the owner of the Fujisan Hotel. Through the Taisho era, these changes were led by those concerned with the stock company at the eighth station.
During the Edo era, oshi and their servants, hyakusho, owned and managed the stone huts. During the Meiji and Taisho eras, people had different positions and ideas compared with past owners; in other words, extrinsic motivation changed the old customs and opened the door to modernization. In this way, the equalities among the stone huts maintained by oshi and hyakusho during the Edo era might have been lost.