“Sea Water Bath of Kaomega-saki”, Tsuruga, c. 1910.

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“Sea Water Bath of Kaomega-saki”, Tsuruga, c. 1910.

See also:
Onsen (hot springs) culture.

“[S]ea bathing requires nothing more than visit to the seashore and entering the sea – with or without clothes. This behaviour is nowadays known as kaisuiyoku [lit. ‘sea water bathe’], a term first used in 1881.

“In a journal published by the Ministry of Home Affairs, kaisuiyoku was promoted as a treatment for internal diseases and tuberculosis, similar to hot springs. Subsequent publications by several doctors helped to popularize sea bathing as a cure, either directly in the sea or in heated seawater on the shore.

“Bathing places were established, especially in areas with strong waves, which were believed to give stronger stimuli to the body.”

Japanese Tourism: Spaces, Places and Structure, by Carolin Funck and Malcolm Cooper, 2013

Sea-bathing at Tsuruga Beach, c. 1910.

[Lafcadio Hearn, writing to Basil Hall Chamberlain, 21 August 1891]

“The picturesqueness of the place [Mionoseki] enchants me. But the popular bathing resort half a mile off is abominable. Why do the Japanese deliberately pick out bathing resorts where the bottom is all jagged rocks and stones? – as at Oiso?

“And why, oh why do they prefer such damnable places to smooth velvety beaches of sand? Is it only because of their rare artistic perception of the beauty of stones? I have been a convert to this religion of stones – but stones under water, unseen, sharp-edged, brutal, only remind me of the shores of the Lake of Blood in the Buddhist Kakemonos [hanging scroll].”

The Japanese Letters of Lafcadio Hearn, edited by Elizabeth Bisland, 1910

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