Shin-Etsu Group Original Calendar
Colors of the Seasons: Japan’s Natural Splendor
Japan’s natural scenery reveals different aspects of its beauty as the seasons change throughout the year. At the height of their glory in spring, rows of cherry trees along riverbanks enrapture the spirit, and the clear waters of Japan’s beaches under a bright summer sun are refreshing and cool. Ponds reflecting the dazzling foliage in autumn are peaceful and serene, and the scenes created by the icy rivers and snow-covered ravines of winter are like those found in a picture scroll. For the third year running, Shin-Etsu has chosen photographs depicting the natural beauty of Japan for its calendar. The photographs in this 2013 calendar depict the four seasons only in Fukui Prefecture, which is home to plants producing Shin-Etsu Group products, including electronic materials. At Shin-Etsu, we consider safety and the environment to be of the utmost importance, and we strive to do our part to preserve the earth’s environment and protect the earth’s natural wonders so that they may be passed on to future generations. It is our hope that the beautiful natural scenery that adds so much to our lives will remain unchanged as the seasons and years go by.
Japan is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty that changes from season to season. In the warmth of spring, flowers blooming and blossoming in myriad colors delight the eye, while refuge can be found from the strong rays of the summer sun in the refreshing air of verdant forests. By and by, autumn foliage takes on brilliant hues as clear streams flow through mountain ravines, and with the advent of winter, snows gradually cover the mountains from their peaks to their bases.
Our calendar for the year 2012 is again devoted to the scenic beauty of Japan and its seasons. All of the photographs herein were taken in Gunma Prefecture, which is home to Shin-Etsu Group plants that manufacture our major products and laboratories that are engaged in research and development.
Shin-Etsu Group places the prime importance on safety and the environment, and it is our sincere wish to help maintain and preserve the splendor of Japan’s natural beauty for the sake of future generations. Indeed, the colors of the seasons are symbols of hope for all our tomorrows.
Japan is a long country stretching from north to south and featured by a variety of terrains. Abundant in natural beauty, the stunning scenery varying from season to season can be seen. Colorful flowers bloom in the soft rays of the sun in spring, and lush verdure offers a cool respite from the heat of summer. Leaves bursting into glorious colors signal the advent of autumn, and sparkling snow covering the ground heralds the arrival of winter. Shin-Etsu Group was established in Niigata and Nagano, and photographs of forest, rivers, and lakes in these prefectures grace our 2011 calendar. “Safety and environmental protection-first” is a basic principle for our corporate activities, and Shin-Etsu Group is a leader in the effort to help protect nature and preserve the environment for future generations. The beautiful colors of the seasonal tapestry that nature weaves are a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow.
The Earth rotates in a vast space. It is one of the many planets in the solar system and it has a history of about 4.6 billion years since its creation. This planet, with light and heat reaching it from the Sun, surrounded by atmosphere and with plentiful water, has nurtured a wide variety of life throughout eternal time. On the other hand, repeated dynamic phenomena have changed the shape of its land and oceans and created formations with a variety of terrain. The Earth where we presently live provides a life source for everything including lush-growing forests, vast oceans and long flowing rivers. Its beautiful scenery enriches our hearts. We still do not know if there is any another planet blessed with such an environment. We must continue to protect our precious Earth that contains irreplaceable life and carefully pass it on to the future.
Wrapped around our planet is the atmosphere, which contains water vapor. When we gaze up at the skies, we are not actually looking directly at space, but rather we are seeing space through the filter that our atmosphere and its moisture creates. It is because of this filter that we are daily able to enjoy viewing multifarious scenes ranging from the dynamic to the sublime: romantic sunsets, refreshingly blue skies, and beautiful rainbows. If Mother is the earth, then Father must be the sky, the beautiful heavens where God dwells. Since immemorial time, humans have looked up at the skies in awe and respect. Surely we have always known that by polluting this great gift — that by draining its life-giving moisture — we are in the long run endangering our own existence.
The globe is topographically classified in a number of ways. Scenic variation depends on whether such classification is horizontal or vertical, with each using different terminology. The diversity of wild animals differs significantly between continents and countries. The faunas continue environmental-driven evolution by taking perpetual time. Currently, global warming is the principle issue of concern. The earth's weather and landscapes are being changed by this phenomenon. The results pose a threat not only to wildlife, but also to mankind. Devoting our undivided attention to the beauty of our earth while renewing our awareness of the value of nature are crucial in the struggle to protect natural lives from their extinction.
The oceans occupy approximately 71 percent of the earth's surface.
In the beginning, our primitive planet was scorching-hot and waterless. Steam that spewed forth from volcanoes cooled to form water that filled depressions on the face of the earth, forming oceans much like today's some 3.8 billion years ago.
The continents today are scattered throughout the seven oceans which are connected as one vast body of water. The oceans support a stable environment throughout the world, and are the origin of all life.
I've sailed all the seven oceans, each unique in its own way, and witnessed an uncountable number of magnificent sights and encountered all sorts of wildlife. Looking at these photographs which reflect my impressions, I see not only the many facets of nature in the oceans, but the natural aspects of the whole earth itself, the planet of oceans.
We live on Planet Earth. There is so much water on the earth that some call it the "Planet of Water." 97.5% of that water, however, is in the sea, and humans cannot drink this water directly. The remaining 2.5% of the water is on land, but the vast majority of that water is either in the form of ice or snow, or buried underground so that humans cannot access it. The amount of water that is actually flowing above ground and accessible to us is merely 0.25% of all the water that exists on Earth. Of the water that is accessible to us, there is little that is actually pure, and some say that it only amounts to 0.1% of all the water on this planet. Most of that pure, beautiful water comes from the forests. Therefore, Earth is more like a "Planet of Forests." Of course, forests are absolutely necessary for the oxygen that humans depend on. I hope that these photographs might now compel the viewer to consider the importance of forests in our daily lives.
Photographer Mitsuaki Iwago has visited Antarctica six times. When asked about his impressions of the southernmost continent, he replies simply: "ice". The thick layers of Antarctic ice are imprinted with hundreds of millions of years of history, including changes in climate and the Earth's crust, This ice also continually affected by environmental changes like global warming and the ozone hole. When Mr. lwago first visited the Antarctic, he was amazed at its sheer scale, immeasurable by the customary yardsticks of experience, and he felt the humble joy of living in nature's embrace. Implicit in this calendar is the fervent wish that we human beings will do whatever we can to care for the sublime natural world and preserve our environment.
Australia. Said to be the earth's oldest continent, where nature yet exists untouched by human hands. Photographer Masaaki Aihara revisits it every year, continuing an odyssey by motorcycle and 4WD that has taken him to the four corners of this vast beautiful land. He says that this striking landscape, encountered amid extreme conditions of traveling hundreds of kilometers of waterless bush through the brutal heat, has a power to awaken some primal energy and perception in the human heart. "To become one with the earth," these words express the photographer's passion as an artist and the theme of his work.
Takashi Nakagawa has roamed the world for 20 years. His photographic style is "nature-teaching" rather than self-teaching. While visiting 129 countries around the world, he has learned from nature. He treats ruins, trees, rainbows, birds, horses, camels and all manner of other things as his teachers. "I don't unilaterally take pictures, but share the stage of expression with my subjects," he said. This photographer releases his shutter with heartfelt respect in Africa. He has met another great teacher again.
"HOMMAGE A L' AFRIQUE" is a French phrase meaning "Tribute to Africa".