In the Valparaíso Region of Chile, a group of statues equal in shape and size rise from a site known as Ahu Akivi and stare out into the Pacific Ocean. These mysterious Maoi are just some of thousands discovered on Easter Island, built by the Rapa Nui to honor important people who had passed on. More than 14,000 km (± 8800 mi) away, on the southern coast of Miyazaki, Japan, the world’s only sanctioned replicas of these statues can be found staring back.
Situated on a gorgeous hill that overlooks the Nichinan Coast, the Miyazaki statues form part of a seaside park called Sun Messe. There are seven figures in all, each standing 5.5 m (18 ft) high and weighing about 20 tons. Each statue represents a blessing (health, love, leisure, marriage, money, business, and academics) and the spirit of one of the seven Easter Island explorers.
Why on earth would a city like Nichinan reproduce monoliths from a Chilean island, you ask? Well, because Japan.
In Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis wrote, “The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.” I must be kind of mad, then, because everyone who knows me knows that I suffer from incessant curiosity. And if you read my blog, you know that that curiosity regularly centres on the morbid. A forest of suicide victims ? A prison of torture? There like a fucking bear.
It sometimes disturbs me – perhaps ironically – how much I am drawn to this darkness. Especially so when I think back to how young I was when I began poring over news articles and books and documentaries on the most gruesome of cases, the most terrifying of things.
But then I remind myself that everyone loves a good train wreck; our propensity for the macabre just manifests in different ways…gory reality TV, courtroom dramas, disaster footage, celebrity scandals, reddit AMAs…
I indulged myself most recently by exploring an abandoned hotel on Miyazaki’s most southern tip.
In early November, my former roommate and longtime bro, Matthew, came to Miyazaki for a visit. This is Part 2 of our road trip down the Nichinan Coast. Part 1 is here.
I chased his voice to the side of the hotel, and we fought our way through the overgrowth of what was once the garden. In a small clearing stood five or six horses, peacefully grazing for a lunchtime snack. If there was ever a reason to jump security rope, this was it.
We stood watching the horses for a while. Every now and then, I found myself looking up to the windows of the hotel. I kept imagining I would suddenly see someone staring down at me. For an abandoned place, it doesn’t feel very empty.
In early November, my former roommate and longtime bro, Matthew, came to Miyazaki for a visit. This is Part 1 of our road trip down the Nichinan Coast. Part 2 is here.
The third of November was a perfect autumn day. The sun was a warm blanket in the car and the crisp, sea air was cool enough to prickle the skin. It’s like having a superpower, I thought as we winded around bend after bend, being able to feel cold and heat independently at the same time.
It was the third day of Matthew’s visit and we were headed down the Nichinan Coast to see the wild horses of Cape Toi. On the way back, we would stop at Kojima Island and Udo Shrine.