|Region||North East Asia|
|Civilization group||Scientists' Group Intervention|
Kamisu 66 (神栖66) is the main setting in From the New World, referring to both a district and a town. Located on the banks of the Tone River in the Kanto region, it is composed of seven distinct villages, with the administrative center located in the town proper in the middle. The population is around 6000 people. Kamisu 66 depicted as a rural utopia of human civilization.
Other districts of human settlement are known to exist in Japan. They include Shiroishi 71 in Tohoku region, Tainai 84 in Hokuriku, and Koumi 95 in Chuubu.
Kamisu 66 is situated on the banks of the lower reaches of Tone River, which flows in the Kanto region. The Tone River cuts the district into two, and villages are described as being on either on the east or west sides of the river. Kamisu 66 is also close enough to the Pacific Ocean to have a sandy coastline. The terrain is mostly flat with only low-lying hills. The Holy Barrier surrounds the district proper, marking a de facto boundary beyond which children are expressly prohibited from venturing, though the Temple of Purity is located outside of it.
Parts of the district are criss-crossed with canals branching off the Tone River, which serve as irrigation channels and waterways, as the people are dependent on water-based transport. Further away from the river are forests while to the east there is a sandy coast.
The Holy Barrier (八丁標) is a thick straw rope hanging with paper streamers that acts as a shield preventing impure things from entering the town. Children are warned to never step outside the barrier. Evil spirits and monsters are said to roam outside and any child who ventures out alone would suffer terribly. (The rope is a so called Shimenawa (標縄・注連縄・七五三縄, lit. "enclosing rope"), and the streamers are Shide (紙垂, 四手))
Aside from the center of the town where the administration is gathered, there are seven villages that make up Kamisu 66. It is made a point that everyone learn their names by heart.
- Waterwheel (水車) is located adjacent to the south of Hayring. It is a village where dozens of canals leading off of the Tone River wind through Kamisu 66 and people come and go by boats. Despite that, the constant movement of the water makes it clean enough to bathe in, though it is not recommended drinking it. In front of Saki Watanabe's house, in addition to a lot of brightly colored red and white koi swimming around, there are also many water wheels, which is where the name comes from. Every village has water wheels, though the village of Waterwheel has quite a big number of them, and they make for a magnificent sight. A lot of them are used to relieve the townspeople of mundane tasks like hulling rice and milling wheat. Among them is a kind of water wheel only some villages have, with metal blades used to generate electricity. The valuable energy is used to power the loudspeakers on the roof of the public hall. Uses of electricity outside of this is strictly prohibited by the Code of Ethics.
- Hayring (茅輪) is located on the eastern bank of the Tone River. Adjacent to the village, to the south, is Waterwheel.
- Pinewind (松風) is located to the north, in the middle of a forest dotted with big houses.
- Whitesand (白砂) is located east of Pinewind, where the forests opened up to a sandy coastlands.
- Outlook (見晴) is located on the western side of the river and located toward the northwest, upstream of the other villages.
- Gold (黄金) is located to the south, lined up in rice paddies.
- Oakgrove (櫟林) is the westernmost village in Kamisu 66.
There are several different administration offices in Kamisu 66, most of which are headquartered in the center of the town. They are known by various names such as committees, boards and divisions, and their structure is unclear; those not mentioned are presumed to be directly under the Ethics Committee.
- The Ethics Committee is the highest administration body in Kamisu 66. They are in charge of enacting the Code of Ethics. Tomiko Asahina is the Head of the Ethics Committee, and has held the office for over 170 years. She is succeeded by Saki Watanabe at the end of the story.
Board of EducationEdit
- The Board of Education is the second highest administration body. They are in charge of the education of the children in the district, particularly those in Sage Academy where cantus training is conducted.
- The Library is in charge of safeguarding knowledge, particularly of the previous civilizations. Mizuho Watanabe, mother of Saki Watanabe, holds the office of Head Librarian throughout most of the story.
- The Mayor office presumably presides over all the villages. Despite that, its powers were very limited, subordinate to even the Head Librarian.bTakashi Sugiura, Saki's father, held the office throughout most of the story.
There are three elementary schools in which children enroll at six years of age:
- Harmony School, where most most of the Group One members are from.
- Friendship School
- Morality School
Children attend these schools until around the ages 11 to 12. Towards the end of this period many study trips are made to places such as the Lotus Farms. This is because around this age children are visited by the Spirit of Blessing. When that happens, they "graduated" their old schools and attend the Sage Academy, where they continue their studies in addition to train their newly awaken cantus. Students graduate Sage Academy around the age of 20.
Kamisu 66 is not a monetary society, and no significant industrialization took place. People plant and harvest crops and raise livestock with the help of their cantus. Several Lotus Farms facilities in Kamisu 66 experiment with new agricultural techniques.
Many people also found work in the various committees and offices.
The many canals and the Tone River serve as the main pathways for the people of Kamisu 66 to move around. Their cantus make light work of propelling their boats. Children without cantus however had to resort to walking on pathways that parallel the canals.
Further inland, only roads and paths are available, and boats have to be moored to continue a journey. Apart from snow sleds and skis, no overland vehicle is described in the story.
Besides privately-owned boats, there are public boats, marked with a dolphin logo, for anyone to use, solong as they returned it to its original dock afterwards.
Several offices of Kamisu 66 has their own fleet of boats of various design and sizes, all larger than normal ones. These are marked with single Sanskrit aksaras corresponding to the offices. In addition, the Ethics Committee has a specially-crafted speedboat which takes the fluid dynamics into account.
The technology of Kamisu 66 is comparatively more primitive. Most forms of energy are obtained from the flowing water in the canals turning the waterwheels; the mechanical energy is used for passive work such as milling grain. Some of the water wheels generate electricity, but it is used exclusively by the administration offices. One particular use of electricity is to power the public announcement system playing "Going Home" at dusk - a vestige of the technology of eras past.
Kamisu 66 is known to have several annual celebrations and rituals. During spring, there occurs a ritual for driving away evil spirits, a festival to pray for a successful harvest, and a festival for keeping away infectious diseases. In the summer, there is a summer festival (monster festival), fire festival, and a feast of lanterns. During fall there is a festival on the 1 August, and a ceremony of offering newly harvested rice to the gods. The season of winter features a snow festival, the new year festival and another unknown festival at the end of the new year festival.
- Evil Spirit Ritual
- Supposedly called the Demon Chasing Festival, it is one of the oldest festivals, with over two thousand years of history. On the morning of the festival, all children would gather in an open square while wearing so called "purity masks", made with damp clay and covered with powdered chalk, and played the part of evil spirits (Shinshi) in the ritual. Two of these masks used are described to look exceptionally horrifying; One representing fiends and the other karma demons. The fiend's face has a sinister grin plastered on it. On the other hand, the karma demon's face is one of fear and anguish, though its features are muddled and crooked and sometimes do not even look human.
- The ritual that makes up the core of the festival goes as follows; White sand is spread out over the square with lit braziers on the eastern and western end, while twenty or thirty shinshi march around the flames chanting "Demons, begone. Demons, begone!" in a peculiar rhythm. Then the exorcist appears dressed in a traditional costume and carrying a big spear in his hands. But the first thing everyone always notices is his golden, four-eyed mask. The exorcist joins the shinshi in chanting and circling the fires and scatters beans in all directions to ward off calamities and bad luck. He also throws them at the spectators and people would cup their hands to catch them. The exorcist then turns towards the shinshi without a warning and throws the rest of his beans at them. "Impurity is within us!" he shouts and the shinshi repeat after him. At this signal, two of the shinshi tear off their purity masks, revealing themselves to be a fiend and a karma demon. "Expel impurity!" the exorcist shouts as he drives away the two demons with the spear. The demons put on a show of resisting, but when everyone joins in shouting, they run off, and the ritual is over.
References & CitationsEdit