2200 years ago in China during the Ouchu period in the Qín dynasty, one man received orders from Qin Shi Huang (first emperor of China) to find a place in far way east sea called “the island of Horai” and so he set sail looking for it.
His name was “Jofuku.”
The island of Horai that he was searching for was thought to be a paradise for the gods and the only place that the miracle fruit (medicine) that gives eternal life grows. After a long trip Jofuku came across a remote island in the Inland Sea (of Japan) called Iwaishima Island. He demanded the miracle fruit that grants eternal life. He quickly found it in a deep gorge near Miura Bay where it still grows today. It grows on trees and is called “Cocou” (lit. Pear chasuble). It is a strange fruit because If you eat one grain you will live a thousand years longer. It is said that this was the fruit of eternal life that Jofuku was looking for.
A thousand years after Jofuku visited, it became the Tempyou era. Iwaishima Island was worshiped as ghost island that protected the marine life.
According to Japan’s oldest anthology of poems the story goes like the following song.
Praying for safety
Of people travelling on,
Pillowing the grass,
How many generations
Has Iwai isle remained?
My family may
Wait for me to return
As quick as I can From my trip,
As clean as Iwai isle
The gods that live on Iwaishima island are still alive today. Protecting this ghost island, “Iwaishima island” is protect the legacy of it’s fertility. So that one day the island can look forward to a new traveler visiting.
Please watch the Jofuku’s legendary and romantic journey to the Island of Horai, Iwaishima island, as part of “The second annual Iwaishima island’s secret of Eternal Life marathon.”