Another view of Mt Fuji

I'll just come right out and admit that I don't really understand this postcard.

The text at the bottom left says "Honshū Paper K.K., Fuji Factory." Honshū Paper was, it seems, a corporate precursor of today's Oji Paper Group, and "Fuji" is obviously Mount Fuji. This is all clear. What I do not understand is why any manager would okay this as a postcard.

Maybe it dates from the days when Japanese manufacturing was still new and exciting. Maybe it was produced as a promotional item by Honshū Paper themselves. Either way, what is with the smoke? Surely even the most patriotic and/or company-loving Spirit-of-'67 industrialist would had second thoughts about advertising their project's ability to pollute and spoil beloved natural symbols.

The composition here is great, though. The chimney extends from below Mt Fuji's roots to above its heights, dividing the scene neatly in two. On the right, the edge of a factory looms into frame, fringed by metal shoots like steampunk bamboo; on the left, the ancient mountain broods behind ominous exhaust clouds. The two worlds remain nominally divided, but unlovely modernity is seeping into the world of symbol and spirit.

(Come to think of it, maybe that was precisely the thinking behind this image's postcardification.)

2009-01-27: Update from a primary source!

Popularity factor: 4


Or maybe it was the latest volley in the Reizei/Nijo feud vis a vis Mt. Fuji, smoke, and whether it riseth still.


Any date on the postcard? IIRC, there was time when billowing entotsu were the very symbol of Japan's development, before it was widely recognized that unchecked industrial pollution (ie. "kougai" a word that gained prominence in the 70s; 1970 was even pronounced 公害元年) may one day kill us all.


MMS: I like it. A Da Vinci Code conspiracy of underground cults and secret wars that could tear the country apart if they ever came to light. Assuming no-one ever looked too closely at the rest of the sentence wjth "tatazu" in it.

Adamu: No date, but it seems that Honshu Paper didn't exist until 1949 (assuming it's the same company), so not too long ago. I know that most nations go through a period where smoke-belching factories seem great... I just thought it was more of a NIMBY thing, you know: you want your factories someplace where they only inconvenience poor people, not blocking your view of Mt Fuji. But perhaps not!

JPS Sharp:

Don't quite understand why people find the postcard so mysterious. Would you rather work for a paper factory that *doesn't* have a nice view of Mount Fuji...?

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