A group of Mount Fuji-lovers have discovered that 54 mountains in 23 countries and regions across the globe are nicknamed after the famed Fuji-san, at 3,776 meters, the highest peak in Japan.
Examples include "Tacoma Fuji" in Washington and "Luzon Fuji" in the Philippines, the group said.
Most of the mountains were given their Fuji nicknames by Japanese immigrants and former soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army who felt nostalgia for their homeland, they added.
The group was led by 62-year-old Hiroshi Tashiro, a Mount Fuji enthusiast and geography teacher at Tokyo-based Senior High School at Otsuka, University of Tsukuba.
Tashiro and friends went through various publications and searched the Internet to find stand-alone mountains outside Japan that are dubbed "(Fill in the blank) Fuji." After they confirmed the mountains on maps, they checked with Japanese and other residents in the areas to double-check if the mountains were really given their Mount Fuji-inspired nicknames.
"Tacoma Fuji" is a nickname given to Mount Rainier, a symbol of Washington state. Tacoma is a mid-sized urban port city south of Seattle near Mount Rainier. The city got its name from the mountain's original name, "Mount Tahoma" (water source), which was given to the peak by the local Puyallup Indians.
Many Japanese people who migrated to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest developed a fondness for Mount Rainier. It was designated as a sister mountain of Mount Fuji in 2003.
In Brazil, Mount Votupoca in Sao Paulo state is dubbed "Ribeira Fuji." The surrounding area is closely associated with Japanese immigrants because it has one of the oldest Japanese settlements in the country. It is named after the Ribeira River that runs through the area.
Japanese descendants have worked on development projects in the region, and they have mentioned Ribeira Fuji in their haiku and tanka poems on many occasions, according to Tashiro.
In the Philippine island of Luzon, Mount Mayon is referred to as "Luzon Fuji." Elsewhere, Indonesia is home to Mount Klabat, which is called "Manado Fuji," and there is a mountain dubbed "Rabaul Fuji," or more commonly, "Hanabuki-yama mountain," in Papua New Guinea. The two mountains were apparently given the nicknames by former Japanese soldiers.
There is also a mountain called "Atsuta Fuji" on Attu in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. During World War II, more than 2,800 Japanese soldiers were killed in the Battle of Attu, which they lost to American forces in May 1943, the only battle fought between Japanese and U.S. forces in Arctic conditions.
Tashiro compiled his research in a book titled "Sekai no 'Fujisan' " (Mount Fujis of the World), which is published by Shin Nihon Shuppan.
"'(Fill in the blank) Fujis' have been closely associated with immigrants and the Pacific War," Tashiro said. "I'd like to turn the Mount Fuji ties into good relationships for the future."
The official climbing season for Mount Fuji got under way July 1.
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