As another Mount Fuji climbing season ends, iconic peak’s military connections stand firm
Halfway to the sixth station of Mount Fuji’s Subashiri trail, artillery shells could be heard exploding Monday from a Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force training area in nearby Gotemba.
On the last day of Fuji’s hiking season, which began in early July, tourists from California worried aloud that the deafening booms were sounds of the active volcano threatening to erupt.
Military tradition is embedded in the iconic mountain known in Japan as Fujisan, which has been used by warriors as a physical and mental challenge since the samurai era. For decades, the 12,000-foot climb has been used as a rite of passage for thousands of servicemembers and their families stationed in Japan, according to the Marine Corps’ Camp Fuji, which sits in the shadow of the legendary summit.
“As far back as 1198 AD, the Kamakura Feudal Government trained more than 30,000 Samurai warriors on the same ground where Marines and other U.S. forces train today,” said a Camp Fuji statement about the base’s history.
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