Japan is surrounded by many volcanoes serving a significant role in the country’s culture and mythology. One of its active volcanoes, Mt Mihara, lies on the Island of Izu Oshima. It is an exciting and dramatic place for a variety of reasons.
Mt Mihara has a lot of interesting characteristics unique to other volcanoes. Though it is predominantly basaltic, it has the ability to discharge and spew remarkable lava into the air. Its major eruption occurred in 1986 where it was able to discharge lava fountains up to 1.6 kilometers high. The explosive value was considered to be in the index of 3 with central vent eruptions. It also consisted of impressive lava flows and a lava lake eruption, where large volumes of molten lava were seen.
Due to its amazing volcanic characteristics, Mount Mihara has also been utilized in the realm of fiction. In the movie, “The Return of Godzilla,” the mountain was used to imprison Godzilla, the giant monster. Five years later, it was seen again in a sequel entitled “Godzilla vs. Biollante” where bombs placed on the mountain went off releasing Godzilla. And also, if you happen to watch “Ring” by Suzuki Koji, it is the location where the mother of Sadako, Shizuko, took her own life.
Mount Mihara has also been an infamous place for suicide. Due to a vantage point near the crater which makes it very convenient to leap, it earned the moniker “Suicide Point.” In 1933, it was claimed that a student, Kiyoko Matsumoto, jumped off the crater with her reasoning being the infatuation that had grown between her and another student, Masako Tomita, which was considered taboo in Japanese culture at the time. In the same year, a total of 944 people jumped off the crater. However, due to increased security, the epidemic eventually ended with it now being illegal to purchase a one-way ticket to the island.
With such a remarkable history around Mount Mihara, has it enticed you to venture out and explore the sacred mountain? If so, make the most of it and ensure you admire its unique characteristics and explore the thrilling vantage point where people committed what was considered romantic suicide a very long time ago.