THE STORY OF A LIVING GOD
The mountain path leading towards Journey’s End, reflects a famous Japanese story recounted by Hearn. It is the story of a real event that happened many hundreds of years ago. One autumn evening, Hamaguchi Gohei, a village headman, was looking down from his house on a hilltop, when he felt a tremor, and he saw the sea darken and run away from the land.
He also saw all the villagers run in amazement to the seashore not knowing the danger that faced them. Hamaguchi quickly told his grandson to set fire to the newly harvested rice stacks. The fire drew all the villagers rushing from the beach to quench the flames. Then on the edge of the horizon a long dark line appeared. As Hearn wrote “That long darkness was the returning sea, towering like a cliff, and coursing more swiftly than the kite flies”. The villagers realized that a tsunami was coming and that Hamaguchi’s action had saved their lives. They built a temple to Hamaguchi who became a Living God.
It was Hearn’s story that first introduced the word tsunami to the West.