Masanobu Shibuya@Kushiro
Shibuya Dived in the Icy Swamp

"Nature can be healed by the life energy a diver emits."
Winter 1996 2/24

Shibuya says that he remembers all the environments in which he has dived:
the particular feel and sensation of each location and its waters.
In February 1996, Shibuya dived in the Kushiro Swamp,
in the area where he grew up, in an effort to go back and touch the past,
or his original memories of water.
The water was slightly above freezing point.

The Kushiro Swamp Report

Use this RealAudio Player 2.0 to hear the Japanese narration.

1). Water... 2). Fish... 3). My memories... 4). Fishing...

shibuya1 Temparature of Kushiro:
-12 degrees centigrade


"Water..."Audio mark

Pass me the thermometer, will you?
Zero degrees! I didn't think it was four degrees.
It is just about to freeze over.

...I feel good! It's wonderful.

What can you see?

Nothing living.

Just the flow of the water...

Water temperature of the Kushiro Swamp:
zero degrees centigrade.

(Water temperature of the Tokyo Bay: 12 degrees)

It's not that I am numbed by the cold of the water.
I start to feel good.
It is like a high, I'm full of endorphins.

It's similar to the religious ritual of praying under a waterfall.
At the beginning, it's freezing.
Like water needles sticking into my body.
But after a while,
I feel good and I would like to sink in the water forever.

Nature is tough, but nature creates within us pleasant feelings.
Probably, it is human beings themselves
who create limits to going further.


shibuya2 A local man asks him,


"Fish...."Audio mark
Getting out of the water is heaven. Absolutely.

Did you see any fish?
No, not really. I looked for them, though.

In autumn the fish come to spawn, and they are still around.
I saw fish twice today.
I have been fishing up till now.
The water is not very clear here.
It's difficult to see anything.

How far can you see?
One or two meters.
Is that all?

Today, the water is unusually clear for the Kushiro river.
Good, isn't it?
Yes, excellent!

The bottom of the swamp is peat.
Water is stagnant close to the bottom, very murky.

The water is clear.


shibuya3 After diving,
he hits it off with the local.


"My memories..."Audio mark

It's wonderful, going with the river's flow.

In the old days, there was nothing here.
I would come here and go skinny dipping.

Well, where I used to swim in was very similar to this part of the river.

Shibuya used to swim the Kushiro River naked when he was a child.

"Don't swim in such a cold river. Never again,"
My teacher hit me in front of all the students at the primary school.
But I really wanted to go into the river.
When it became warmer, I often swam in the Kushiro River.
I feel that water has attracted me since then.


shibuya4 Salmon in winter,
trout in spring and
horse mackerel in autumn.
During the fishing season,
there are too many people fishing to swim...

"Fishing..." Audio mark
If you swim here, be careful of old fishing hooks. You could get injured.
Are they fishing hooks?

Yes, that's right.

The hooks get caught in the roots of trees
at the bottom of the river.

There are also many lures as well.

It's terrible.

There are a lot of fish in the Kushiro River.
The Kushiro Swamp attracted urban people for camping and canoeing,
then local people joined, maintaining their links with the water.
Little by little, nature in Kushiro was eroded.
I found man-made refuse like cans.
But I do not want to accuse
those who enjoy outdoor sports of environmental destruction.

A human dives into the water and breathes.
Nature can be healed by the life energy the diver emits.
Water might be happy when we come into contact with it.

I believe that we can protect nature by enjoying it.

I want to dive down the river.
Some do this in the United States.
I hope to do something dynamic.
When it gets warmer, with salmon.

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