"Nowhere in the world do people hold mountains in so much regard as in Japan," writes Fukada Ky?ya in the afterword to this book. "Mountains have played a part in Japanese history since the country's beginnings, and they manifest themselves in every form of art. For mountains have always formed the bedrock of the Japanese soul."In One Hundred Mountains of Japan, Fukada pays tribute to his favourite mountains. Originating as a series of magazine articles about a personal selection of mountains, the work became an instant classic when it was first published in book form in 1964.More recently, Japan's national broadcasting company has turned the original Nihon Hyakumeizan into a memorable TV series. Consisting of one hundred short essays, each celebrating one notable mountain and its place in Japan's traditions, the book is an elegantly written eulogy to the landscape, literature and history that define a people.Fukada was bemused by his book's success: "In the end, the one hundred mountains represent my personal choice and I make no claims for them beyond that." Yet, half a century after he set down those words, his mountains have become an institution. Marked on every hiking map, his Hyakumeizan are today firmly embedded in the mountain traditions they grew out of.Now available in English translation, One Hundred Mountains of Japan will serve as a guide for a new cohort of hikers and mountaineers. It also opens up new territories for students of Japan's literature, folklore, religions, and mountaineering history - in short, for mountain-lovers everywhere.
While living and working in Japan during the 1990s, Martin Hood visited about a third of the country's One Hundred Mountains. By chance, the first high mountain he climbed was Hakusan, the peak that presides over the birthplace of Fukada Ky?ya, the author of Nihon Hyakumeizan. Now based in Switzerland, he works for an international organization and is a member of the Academic Alpine Club of Zurich.