Memories of the Sea vol.1 – The Inland Sea –

Mysterious landscape in the Far East - Especially discovered an ideal capital in the view "The Inland Sea."

The Seto Inland Sea envelopes the sun warmly.
by Shuji Terayama in “Setonaikai”

At the evening twilight time, the sun comes up to the surface on the coastline of the Seto Inland Sea, like an orange moon. It is simply beautiful and amazing. A fantastic landscape “enveloping the sun warmly” spreads, a playwright Shuji Terayama describes.

The sky, which blends deep orange, crystal light blue, and sky blue – the sun illuminates the sky and the cloud, the color has been changing from moment to moment. That is neither the lake nor the vast ocean. The landscape of the Seto Inland Sea, which appears the wide canal, fascinates visitors as if embracing each heart.

Even the name “Setouchi” had not existed in Japan until the Meiji era. That spot has been a chokepoint at marine traffic, which continues from the continent to the capital. Also, it was known as a merely historical place where remains the traces of the Genpei War. Surprisingly, the period when “Setouchi” was captured as one vast “the landscape as the inland sea” was after the 19th century. It was due to evaluations by cultural figures from Europe.

Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold, who is a German physician, botanist, and geographer – there is a description in his journal at the time crossing the Seto Inland Sea. “The Inland Sea” surrounded by the strait of the Seto Inland Sea, and this Inland Sea is Archipelago, he wrote.

“With each turn of the ship, a new enchanted view of the beautiful islands would appear. The coastal landscapes of Japan [Hōnshū] and Shikoku, glimpses of which we could see from between the islands and rocks, never ceased to amaze me. ”

Reise nach dem Hofe des Sjogun im Jahre 1826
– Journey to the Court of the Shōgun in 1826 –

A lot of westerners admire the landscape of the Seto Inland Sea. They started to enjoy a voyage in the Seto Inland Sea after the opening of the country of Japan — from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period. The admiration had led to an interest — it had quickly spread around Europe and America, and the value started increasing. Mysterious landscape in the Far East Island, where had long veiled — especially discovered an ideal town in the view “The Inland Sea.”

The history, the atmosphere, the customs of the people’s lives, time floats — all of them include in the landscape. The memories that remain in the ocean have blended much more deeply into the scene of the Seto Inland Sea. All it is is now to appear in front of us as a unique irreplaceable.

References :
“Modern Westerners’ Admiration of the Seto Inland Sea Landscape”

  • PhotosYoshiyuki Mori
  • WordsAtsuko Ogawa
  • DesignNoriaki Hosaka
  • Translation Mina Ishikawa