Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Fatal Frame Lore: The Mount Hikami Catastrophe

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Fatal Frame 5 takes place on Mount Hikami, a rather unique setting for the series because

youre no longer tied to one location or building, but rather have an entire mountain

to explore.

Its the history and rituals that once took place on this mountain that lead to the events

of Fatal Frame 5, so this week were going to take a look at what went down on Mount

Hikami and the horrific catastrophe that led to the state we find it in at the start of

the game.

To start, lets go all the way back.

Mount Hikami had long been considered a sacred mountain by the locals, and very particular

ideals and beliefs sprung up around the area.

Being that the area was overflowing with springs, it was believed that the very waters of Mount

Hikami were sacred, and a very particular religion sprung up around this belief.

It was thought that people were born from water, and then when they die, they return

to that same water.

When it was somebodys time to pass on, they would make their way to Mount Hikami

so that they might return to their natural state.

These pilgrims, as it were, were accompanied by shrine maidens who would watch their final


These werent just any old shrine maidens, however.

They possessed great powers that allowed them to glimpse the souls and memories of those

about to die.

They gained these powers by bathing in the waters of the mountain, which is also where

they got their name, the Maidens of Black Water.

This left the maidens constantly wet from the mountains sacred waters, giving their

hair a glossy black tint much like that of a crows wet feathers.

In fact, in Japanese they are referred to as Nuregarasu no Miko, which more literally

translates to wet crow shrine maidens.

Because these maidens bathed in the sacred waters of Mount Hikami, it brought them closer

to death than regular people.

It wasnt something that continue forever, however, and when a shrine maiden felt that

her time was coming as well, she would become a pillar for the mountain.

What that meant, in essence, was that the shrine maiden would be placed in a casket

full of the black water from the mountain and sealed within it.

This would keep her in a type of suspended state, her body helping to purify the mountain

and keep the black waters from the Shadowspring within it at bay.

Naturally, these pillars didnt last forever, and would eventually melt away into the water,

but this was a process that took quite a bit of time, and so decades may pass on the outside

while the maiden inside seemingly hadnt aged at all.

So, what is the Shadowspring?

The Japanese term refers to it more literally as the black swamp, which might make

it a little easier to imagine.

It was where the black waters of the underworld emerged on the mountain, and it was only accessible

from the Shrine on the Water, itself only accessible via a boat ride from the Shrine

of the Ephemeral.

It was the shrine maidens job to stop this black water from overflowing and destroying

the mountain, and so the the strongest maidens would be sunk in the Shadowspring itself,

while other maidens served as pillars in different locations all over the mountain.

This was, at its most basic, how the local religion surrounding the mountain worked for

many hundreds of years.

People would choose a time to visit Mount Hikami so that they might return to the

waters, and upon arrival, would visit the shrine at the foot of the mountain to choose

a maiden.

This maiden, who had been through rigorous training and constant immersion in Mount Hikamis

waters, would accompany the person as they made their journey to their final death spot.

There, the maiden would finally remove her veil and glance her subject.

The strongest maidens could do this literally with just a glance, but others would have

to touch their subject to do it.

This would allow her to see into their soul; their memories, emotions, sins, guilt, all

of it.

Theres a little lost in translation with this particular verb however, which is worth

pointing out.

The Japanese term is mitori which comes from the verb mitoru.

This generally means to care for someone who is sick or attend them on their deathbed.

It can also mean to perceive or see through something, so its a double meaning of the

shrine maidens attending to someone on the verge of death, and also perceiving all of

who they are and what they have experienced.

This allows them a clean death and lets them return to the waters without any regrets so

they can move on peacefully.

So, with that out of the way, what caused the disaster on Mount Hikami that led to its


It all started, quite simply, with two very different people.

One, a man by the name of Kururugi Kyozo, and the other, no less than the infamous Dr

Asou himself who finally makes his first real appearance in a game.

Lets look at Dr Asou first, as his role in the catastrophe is a little more subtle.

Dr Asou, of course, was the inventor of the Camera Obscura, a camera that could capture


He took an interest in the spiritual world from a young age and actually grew up not

too far from Mount Hikami.

As he got older and worked on perfecting his camera that could capture spirits, or souls,

word spread of his work and rumours reached his own ears that his photography reminded

people in the Mount Hikami region of the pillars that resided there.

After all, neither the photographs nor the pillars faded.

In time, Dr Asou was actually invited to the mountain to take a picture of Kurosawa Ose,

perhaps the most powerful shrine maiden still alive at the time who was destined to become

a great pillar in the Shadowspring.

Paintings were usually made of the shrine maidens before their death so they could use

these to find suitable husbands for ghost marriages,but in Oses case, they wanted

to try this fancy new technology instead.

When Dr Asou saw Ose, he fell in love at first sight, and she with him too.

Yet neither voiced their feelings.

Dr Asou took a photo of Ose with his camera, capturing a tiny piece of her soul inside

it, and then left the mountain.

That should have been the end of that, but he took a piece of her with him, and in return,

Oses feelings for him lingered inside her as well.

She was about to become a great pillar, and yet she was left with attachment to the physical


After Dr Asou left the mountain, a man by the name of Kururugi Kyozo showed up, and

it was he who undoubtedly played the largest part in Mount Hikamis downfall.

Before his arrival at the mountain, Kururugi murdered his sister Shinos lover.

He claimed to have done it to protect her, but it left Shino heartbroken and so she visited

Mount Hikami to end her life.

You can find Shinos ghost in the Unfathomable Forest, and by glancing her yourself you can

watch her hang herself from the Hanging Tree as a shrine maiden watches.

After learning of his sisters death on Mount Hikami, Kururugi himself went there,

and by all accounts appeared to wish to take his own life in the proper way as well,

choosing Emi to be his shrine maiden for his final journey.

Yet he blamed the Mount Hikami shrine maidens for his sisters death, unable to accept

that he may have been the one responsible for it, and when it came down to the final

moment for Emi to glance into his soul and read his sins, Kururugi was unable to go through

with it.

He panicked, screamed at the shrine maiden not to look at him, and then took off running.

It was forbidden for someone to leave the mountain once they stepped foot on it, so

Emi gave chase, yet she was not fast enough.

Kururugi escaped.

But he was not done.

Far from it.

Kururugi prepared himself for one final task: he would kill all the shrine maidens, those

he blamed for his sisters death, and those he feared most of all because they could see

his secrets, his sins, and they would know what he had truly done.

Kururugi covered himself in sacred writing and returned to the mountain with a large

blade in one hand and a flaming torch in the other.

First, he made his way towards the shrine maidens, slaughtering them all in the Pool

of Purification and using his blade to slash their eyes even after death so they could

no longer see him.

Then he killed the Flamekeepers, the priests tasked with watching over the Forbidden Flame

which was believed to help keep the black waters at bay.

Once he was done with that, he returned to the Pool of Purification where he then set

himself on fire and ended his own life by stabbing himself with his own blade.

While this massacre was taking place, Ose was being placed into her casket atop the

mountain, ready to be sunk into the Shadowspring.

The sudden death of all the shrine maidens and flamekeepers on the mountain below suddenly

flooded her with an overwhelming rush of emotions.

This, combined with her lingering feeling for Dr Asou, basically caused her to overload.

Her ritual failed and the black waters instantly burst forth from the Shadowspring, washing

over the mountain and all the dead bodies lying on it.

The spirits of those that had yet to move on were corrupted and tied to the land, forced

to linger forever more.

Its important to note that this catastrophic disaster wasnt enough to wipe out the mountain


The numerous pillars that still existed on the mountain were enough to keep the black

waters contained to the mountain, if nothing else, and the area instead came to be known

as cursed.

People who entered the mountains forests would often disappear, and rumours spread

that they were being spirited away.

Shortly before the turn of the century, efforts were made to revive Mount Hikami and turn

it into a tourist attraction.

The shrines were rebuilt, a cable car installed, and construction for a new road and tunnel

passing through the mountain began as well.

Yet construction on the tunnel was plagued, and disaster after disaster befell it.

In the end, a flood ended up killing numerous workers, and then the deal was sealed with

a landslide that destroyed much of the ongoing construction.

The numerous deaths and high costs of trying to revive the mountain simply proved too much.

The forest near the cable cars was fenced off, but other than that, the project and

the mountain were simply abandoned.

Thanks to all of these disasters, alongside its long and terrifying history, the mountain

became a popular occult and suicide spot, and when people went missing there, the police

generally refused to go looking.

Numerous occult maniacs visited it over the years, trying to uncover the truth of what

really happened and hoping to run into a ghost or two, but inevitably most of these people

went missing as well.

The game begins with Hinasaki Miu searching the mountain for her mother after hearing

news that she might be in one of the caskets buried on the mountain, Hojo Ren trying to

uncover the truth of some postmortem photographs he has uncovered, and Kozukata Yuri setting

out to find the missing Himino Fuyuhi, who in turn is looking for her lost friend Momose

Haruka on the mountain.

People are still going missing in the present day, and its up to the three protagonists

to uncover the catastrophe that befell it and somehow quell the mountain and the angry

spirits that still lurk on it.

And thats the story of the catastrophe that destroyed Mount Hikami.

What do you guys think about this one?

Are there any other lore videos youd like to see?

Let me know in the comments below and Ill see you again next time!

The Description of Fatal Frame Lore: The Mount Hikami Catastrophe