Where on earth do we really stand?
I seem to be right here, but who knows, maybe it turns out that I'm in fact somewhere else when I simply change my perspective? And maybe I'm not even who I think I am, but someone else?
Who am I? And where am I?
Once you look at yourself from a different angle, chances are you find the area around your feet so obscured that you can't see where you are, so eventually you will suspect that your body and the ground it stands upon are indeed terribly questionable things.
Where do I have to go in order to encounter my real self? A light push will surely open the window and give you a glimpse of your unknown alter ego – yourself in another world.

Mythology provides keys that open such windows. For me, myths opened the window to "Hirasaka".

According to the historical myth collections "Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters)" and "Nihonshoki", Japan was created by Izanagi (male deity) and Izanami (female deity).
Izanami died from burns she suffered when giving birth to the god of fire. Filled with sorrow, Izanagi followed his sister-wife into the underworld in order to bring her back, but when he found her, Izanami had already eaten the fruits of the beyond, thus was unable to return to the realm of the living. Izanami summoned a group of helpers to chase after Izanagi, who ran away in panic.
Izanagi reached a gentle slope that formed the entrance to the real world, and in order to shake off the pursuing demons of the underworld, he created a huge, golden river of urine to divide the realms of the living and the dead.

"Hira" in the name Hirasaka means "flat", while "saka" can mean at once "slope" and "border".
I am deeply intrigued by the description of the borderline between the two worlds as a slope. "Hirasaka" refers not only to the realms of the living and the dead, but to the indistinct separating lines between past and future, and good and evil as well.
It is perhaps the vagueness of such blurry areas where people can make the very first encounters with their own true flesh and blood.

The Japanese traditional Noh theatre is based on the idea of having the spirits of the dead enter the real world and perform on stage. As a result, for the audience it becomes impossible to judge whether they are witnessing sceneries of the real world or the underworld, set in the past or in the present.
It certainly was the intention of those working out Noh plays in ancient times to create neutral zones on the edge of life: stages for manifestations of the flame of life and its appeal to us humans.

I hope that Hirasaka will also serve as a vehicle for various animals appearing in mythology to reach us. On the other hand, we can surely expect from our own Hirasaka experiences encounters with previously unknown things.
From that new perspective, I will focus again on the point where I'm standing.







Copyright(c) 2009-2010 Nobuhiro Ishihara 石原 延啓 All Rights Reserved.