|Dr. HARRIET NATSUYAMA
Dr. Harriet H. Natsuyama, a graduate of the University of Hawaii, received
her doctoral degree from Kyoto University in tenmongaku
uchubutsuri, astrophysics, under the direction of Professor Sueo Ueno. She is the
author of six books and over 200 papers in mathematics, physics, and engineering.
An American living in Los Angeles,California, she is studying megaliths
and the astronomy of ancient people.
Iwaya-Iwakage of Kanayama Megaliths
・October 15, 2015
・December 9, 2012
・December 28, 2010. 2011 KANAYAMA RETREAT
・October 31, 2010. I spent another five wonderful days at Kanayama …
・June 17, 2010. The Kanayama Megalith System
・June 9, 2010. Regarding KANAYAMA MEGALITHS
| October 15, 2015
| Iwaya-Iwakage of Kanayama Megaliths
| December 9, 2012
|Megaliths as Ancient Shrines
In English, a “megalith” is a “great stone” and is defined as “a large
stone that forms a prehistoric monument” by the Oxford Dictionary. In Japanese,
the word “megalith” is written 巨石, great stone, and is read kyoseki.
Let’s discuss rocks and stones. We often use these words interchangeably. Are they different? Instead of the common word for stone, ishi, the Japanese sometimes use the word, iwa. If the ishi is a smallish stone, then iwa is a largish rock like a boulder. When we examine the kanji 岩 for iwa, we see the character for mountain over that for stone so it represents
a mountain stone.
occur naturally, many show evidence of having been worked on by ancient people.
Megaliths were often transported over great distances to special sites on the
peaks of mountains (such as megaliths from the island of Shikoku on top of 2,599 meter tall Mt Kinpusan in Yamanashi). Megaliths are also iwakura, 磐座 stone seats for kami deities. The connotation is that kami descend from an unseen world to sit on or in the stones. Megaliths are
found within iwasaka, 磐境 sacred enclosures, which were probably the very first shrines. Megaliths can be regarded as iwa no hashira, pillars of rock. The pillar is an important metaphor in sacred literature around the world. It represents a sacred mountain, the center of the world, the world axis.
Why are megaliths sacred? Megaliths connect ki of heaven spiraling down
and ki of earth spiraling up. The movements of heaven and earth are celebrated
and joined in matsuri, festivals to kami of heaven and earth.
are three shrines in front of the Iwaya-Iwakage megalith grouping, indicating
that people have considered this site a sacred place. Let us note that the word, iwaya,
岩屋, or house of rock, is translated as cavern or grotto, and even as sanctuary. Iwakage, 岩蔭, means shade of the rock.
I visited Kanayama Megaliths at the time of the autumn equinox in September.
It was a good time to be in Iwaya-Iwakage.
The spotko was brilliant, and the beam of sunlight was easily revealed by the smoke of burning incense. I sat on the rock on the west side of the “sanctuary” and when I was alone, I felt Iwaya’s beauty and peace. The smoke in the sunbeam was swirling around and it
was mesmerizing to watch. It seemed like there was a spiraling energy right
here in Iwaya.
| May 2012
This is a momentous year, 2012. It is a year of renewal after last year’s disasters. 2012 is a year of awakening to the connectedness that we share, all over the world.
As I prepare for my return to Kanayama for geshi-no-hi, summer solstice,
I wonder how will it be. Have you heard about shinrin-yoku, forest bathing
for relaxation and revitalizing? Kanayama is a perfect place for it.
Last October, I witnessed the Leap Year event at
Iwaya-Iwakage. It was thrilling to share this event not only with my Kanayama
friends but with our Jomon ancestors as well.
On the night of the full moon, we all went to
Iwaya-Iwakage. The stars in the northern sky were reflected in the Big Dipper
cupules of the megalith. The full moon arose and brought a silver-blue magic to
the realm. We could only breathe in this clear atmosphere as if it were a magic
elixer. It was a time to experience the wonder and beauty of the universe.
I am looking forward to my next visit to Kanayama Kyoseki-gun. Perhaps
I’ll see you there!
| December 28, 2010. 2011 KANAYAMA RETREAT
AND BEAUTY OF NATURE,
RIVERS, AND ONSEN SPAS,
MEGALITHS BUILT BY OUR ANCESTORS!
We are planning a retreat in the mountains of Hida Kanayama, an ancient
secluded valley untouched by the vagaries of modern life yet easily within
The retreat will take place during the first full
week of October 2011, Sunday the 2nd through Saturday the 8th. It is being
organized by myself, Harriet Natsuyama, and an experienced tour guide, Ms
In option A, you will have a pre-retreat week-long
tour of Tokyo
ending in Nagoya
on Sunday, 2 October.
With option B, you can go directly to Nagoya Station
for meeting with the whole group on Sunday, 2 October.
We are arranging suitable accommodations and local
cuisine - not fancy or gourmet, but substantial and healthy and close to
nature. Most likely the fish will have been caught in the pure streams and the
vegetables picked that morning in the mountains.
This is your chance to visit places beyond the
tourist track and dwell in silent contemplation. The hot water spas will
refresh your bodies as well as your minds.
Our hosts in Kanayama will be Mr. Y. Kobahashi and Ms
S. Tokuda of the KanayamaMegalith Center. They
will give you a personal tour of the 6,000 year-old astronomical observatory
for the light from the sun and stars. You will learn about the annual calendar
of four seasons, the four-year and longer leap year calculation, and the clever
ways of measuring diurnal time.
We will have several tutorial sessions on astronomy,
ancient Jomon culture, mythology and history. You may be one of the first to
observe new archaeological findings for the site!
Join us for this unique opportunity to explore
the wonders of Hida Kanayama!
| October 31, 2010
October 31, 2010. I spent
another five wonderful days at Kanayama Megaliths with Kobayashi San and Tokuda
San. The spotko at Iwaya-Iwakage arrived on October 23, sixty days before the
winter solstice, and we were there to welcome it. Many people dropped by to see
it, and Ms Tokuda gave a clear explanation to all visitors. It still amazes me
how beautifully our ancestors planned and executed this astronomical site -
although it should not by now! And how interesting that Abu
Simbel in Egypt also has
a light display on this date.
Before arriving at Kanayama on this trip, I had the
pleasure of climbing MtKuromanta, well actually climbing half-way while my companions completed the ascent
and took pictures of the Motomiya Jinja at the peak. This man-made pyramid
mountain with seven steps as determined by radar mapping has been studied
and reported on by Mr. Akira Suzuki in his book. Many alignments are centered
on Kuromanta and these include the four cardinal directions and the solsticial
azimuth directions. The Kuromanta site is roughly of an age with Kanayama
Megaliths, four thousand as compared with perhaps six thousand years for
Kanayama. In spite of its hoary age, Kanayama is still a complex system
and a beautiful one.
I am listing some links to archaeoastronomical sites. They may be of value
to those who wish to pursue further studies of megaliths and astronomy
as well as of ancient culture.
A nice tutorial of the earth's rotation and orbit
NOAA Solar Calculator - Find Sunrise, Sunset,
and Solar Position for Any Place on Earth
At this site, you can learn the basic principles and
"design your own Stonehenge
or Kanayama." The equation for the solar azimuth direction is given. Try
it out on Kayanama, latitude 35 degrees 45 minutes North. Did you get 29.5
You can verify your calculation of the solar azimuth
of solstices by using the Applet here.
Astronomy in Japan: Science,
Links to sites on archaeoastroomy.
Astroarchaeology and archaeoastronomy news
| June 17, 2010. The Kanayama Megalith System
THE KANAYAMA MEGALITH
Ancient Solar Observatory for Seasons and Leap Years
Megaliths are an ancient astronomical observatory for following the light rays
from the sun and from the Polestar. In a beautifully designed and executed
system of megaliths, the four nodal times of the year: Spring, Summer,
Autumn, and Winter, could be determined. Moreover, from these sunbeam
observations leap-year cycles of four years, 33 years, and longer can be
Kanayama Megaliths System
The Kanayama Megalith System is a composite of three megalithic sites in
Kanayama-Cho,GeroCity, Gifu Ken:
"The Megaliths of The Iwaya-Iwakage Remains",
"The Megaliths with a Marked Stone" and
"The Megaliths of The Eastern Mountain".
first two sites are shown on the left of the illustration, and the third site
on the Eastern Mountain is shown below. Together they cover the entire yearly progress of the sun around the earth (skywatching is an earth-centered activity). From these observational sites the Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice as well as leap year cycles can be determined. That the ancient astronomers could do this in a mountainous region is indeed remarkable.
red and blue wedges indicate the regions of angular observation during the
summer and winter months, respectively. Sunbeams on certain days and during
certain periods enter the observing chambers through the careful placement of
the boulders. The boulders display carved symbols and lines as well as
exceptional stone-shaping techniques.
The Kanayama Megalith System is a priceless treasure for not only the people
ofJapan but for everyone around the world. Here, we can study how ancient
man carried out vital activities which served for practical (e.g., agricultural)
uses as well as for cultural and spiritual benefits. In those days, the
science was not separated from the sacred.
system is an excellent educational laboratory for teaching youth the basics of
astronomy as no museum or classroom, book or video, can. Schoolchildren can
learn science and mathematics in a real-life setting and learn the principles
of scientific research. Furthermore, young (and not-so-young) people can relate
to nature and develop a sense of peace, harmony, and ethical behavior.
Kanayama Megaliths are a resource which is awe-inspiring.
| June 9, 2010
STATEMENT OF DR. HARRIET H.
The Kanayama Metaliths are
magnificent! I visited this site from 31 May through 4 June, 2010.
I am certain that these
huge boulders were deliberately arranged by human ancestors thousands of years
in the past.
That they still function as
accurate solar calendars and leap year determinators is due to their exquisite
design, careful planning, and their use of extremely large and heavy boulders.
The arrangement of these boulders has withstood the shocks of earthquakes over
the course of many millennia.
Moreover, I am impressed by and I greatly respect the dedication and scientific
acumen of Mr. Yoshiki Kobayashi and Ms. Shiho Tokuda. These two sincere
people have single-handedly (so to speak) developed this site to the condition
where visitors can appreciate the functions of the stones.
Over the course of thirteen
years, Mr. Kobayashi has laboriously analyzed the observational data obtained by
Ms. Tokuda. I am impressed by his high-level self-taught mathematical ability
and Ms. Tokuda’s careful data collection. I myself am a mathematical
astrophysicist with many years of formal education.
This important prehistoric site belongs not only to all the people ofJapan,
it is a treasure for all the people of the world.
The research team for Kanayama Megaliths has become quite international
is constantly growing. This site is coming to the attention of many people
inJapan and in other countries.
To support this effort is to start a new science inJapan, one that will
contribute to the understanding of other megalithic cultures around the
I urge the government to support the work of Mr. Kobayashi and Ms. Tokuda.
For not only is this a historic and scientific site, it is also a sacred site. There are strong energies connecting humans to earth and to nature.
In these difficult times this research will lead us to a better understanding
of the past and our future.