SUZAKA, Nagano -- A cracked boulder in a forest in this central Japan city has been gaining popularity among children for resembling one cut in half by the hero in the smash-hit anime "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba."
In the anime, the protagonist Tanjiro Kamado volunteers to join the "Demon Slayer Corps" that protect humans from demons in order to help his sister, who was turned into a demon, become human again. As a condition to participate in the "final selection" of the enlistment test, Tanjiro's master demanded he cut a large rock in half with his sword, which he accomplished.
The dragon's split boulder, or "Ryu no wariishi" as the rock in Suzaka is called in Japanese, is 2 meters high and 3 meters wide. It is said that a thirsty dragon unintentionally broke the rock with its claw when it tried to drink the water that springs up from under the rock. According to the commercial tourism department of the Suzaka Municipal Government, the rainwater that has soaked into the rock gets frozen as it gets colder so the cracks have expanded year by year.
The forest, called "Sakatayama Kyosei no Mori," is located about 1.5 kilometers east of Nagano Electric Railway's Suzaka Station. An official with the commercial tourism department encouraged people to visit the site, saying, "If you are interested, please come and visit, but be careful about the novel coronavirus."
(Japanese original by Masahito Minagawa, Nagano Bureau)