Sacred Mountains of Buddhism and Shintoism and Whaling Culture in the Kansai-Kinki Regions
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This chapter visits Kumano, in the southern part of the Kansai-Kinki Region (central-western Honshū, which includes Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara), where Japanese classical whaling is said to have originated. The monument made there in 1671 is the oldest existing monument for whales in Japan. Field research highlights internationally known Taiji, which was the center of the Kishū Classical Whaling Base, one of the four major Japanese classical whaling bases. The region is also famous for the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range,” registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site. This chapter analyzes how local indigenous beliefs have affected the whaling culture in Taiji.