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This article is about a location in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
Overview

Hinamizawa as seen from the Furude Shrine.

Hinamizawa (雛見沢 Hinamizawa) is a fictional village that serves as the main setting of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. It is a rural village with a population ranging from approximately 1200 people[1] to 2000[2].

Description

Overview

Hinamizawa village, officially recognized as the Hinamizawa district of Shishibone City, is located in an unnamed prefecture in Chuubu, adjacent to Gifu[3][4]. "Hinamizawa" is also a common name for the several small rural settlements located in the outskirts of Shishibone city which are isolated from the other areas by the mountainous forest cover in that region. Initially, the village was an isolated and independent settlement but was later included as a part of Shishibone City administratively. The population of Hinamizawa village is estimated to be around 2,000[3].

Geography

Hinamizawa is distant from urban settlements. It is located in a valley formed by a stream originating from a swamp called Onigabuchi in an inland area near the Sea of ​​Japan. Villages are scattered at the bottom of the valley, and the surrounding area is shrouded by deep forests, blessed with abundant nature. There are areas such as Takatsudo and Yagouchi in the mountains further away from the main Hinamizawa area, but there are few houses and some of these settlements are considered ghost towns.

Hinamizawa itself mostly consists of old, rural houses along with some newer buildings such as the Irie Clinic and Maebara mansion. Due to its location, Hinamizawa gets heavy snowfall in the winter[5] and as a consequence, many characteristically thick thatched roofed gasshō-zukuri (合掌造り) houses can be seen.

The Okinomiya district is located down a steep slope from the Hinamizawa district, and the purchase of daily necessities is mainly carried out there. Hinamizawa itself doesn't boast many modern amenities such as restaurants, fast food outlets, vending machines, entertainment facilities, etc[6].

Administration

Main article: The Three Families

A mayor is elected every year and a town council governs the village with regular meetings, however the Three Families (Kimiyoshi, Furude, and Sonozaki) are effectively the true leaders of the village.

Economy

History

Hundreds of years ago, Hinamizawa was known as Onigafuchi Village, named such because of its proximity to a swamp called Onigafuchi (鬼ヶ淵 Ogres' Abyss) that was said to lead to Hell. Legend has it that demons emerged from the swamp and terrorized the humans, but with the mediation of the god Oyashiro-sama the humans and demons began to coexist and gave birth to humans with demon blood. The villagers soon considered themselves superior to other humans due to their demon heritage and knowledge, looking down on outsiders. The Three Families would come to govern the village, rumored to have the strongest demon blood out of all the villagers.

Because of their demon blood, the villagers also had periodic bouts of hunger for human flesh. Oyashiro-sama permitted them to capture humans from other villages and take them back to Onigafuchi to be ritualistically sacrificed and consumed in events that would come to be known as Watanagashi. Oyashiro-sama's worship continued for hundreds of years, with the villagers believing that they could never leave the village for long for fear of being cursed by their god. It was believed that if Oyashiro-sama wasn't appeased, his anger would manifest as miasma erupting from Onigafuchi. In the Meiji Era, Onigafuchi would be reformed into Hinamizawa, and their cannibalistic past would be almost forgotten. Hinamizawa's name came from the same river that flowed through the village, which existed even when it was known as Onigafuchi Village.[7]

In Matsuribayashi, it is revealed that the demons were real, with Oyashiro-sama originally a member of the demons known as Hanyuu. Hanyuu became regarded as a god and fell in love with the heir to the Furude Shrine, producing a half-human child Ouka Furude. However, Hanyuu's presence caused a parasitic virus to spread throughout the humans, causing them to grow dangerously violent from paranoia. In order to make the villagers calm down, Hanyuu decided to become the object of their suspicion and masqueraded as a demon, being sacrificed by Ouka. The villagers still believed that Hanyuu was Oyashiro-sama, unaware that they really did kill their god. The virus stayed native to the region and would be researched by Hifumi Takano and later the Irie Clinic for medical and military purposes, where it would be given the name Hinamizawa Syndrome,

In the 1970s the Japanese government began preparations to build a dam in Hinamizawa, and the villagers began to oppose it as the dam being built would mean Hinamizawa would be flooded, and they would be forced to move somewhere else. There were many protests and acts of sabotage, and it became difficult for police to handle because the villagers would always provide alibis for each other. It wasn't until the dam construction foreman was killed that the government finally put the project on hold. The death of the foreman would be the start of "Oyashiro-sama's curse".

Notable Locations

Real Life Model

Hinamizawa was inspired by the real-life Japanese village of Shirakawa-go. Many backgrounds used in the original version of Higurashi are filtered photographs taken by Ryukishi07 and his friends when they visited the village.[8]

External Links

References

  1. Onikakushi TIP 5: The Hinamizawa Dam Project
  2. Minagoroshi Day 26
  3. 3.0 3.1 Okinomiya Police Station Case Record Prologue
  4. Watanagashi Epilogue 1
  5. Watanagashi Day 12-2
  6. Onikakushi Day 1
  7. Higurashi Trading Card TIPS SP8
  8. Ryukishi07 Interviews (Epitanime 2012)


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