In Japan, things that are receiving a lot of love and attention are sometimes described as “shining.” These days, that’s a description you could apply to Mt. Fuji.

After receiving UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2013, Japan has rekindled its love affair with the country’s highest mountain. But just because Mt. Fuji’s star is brighter than usual these days doesn’t mean everyone wants the mountain to be literally shining, as angry online commenters are speaking out against one company’s proposal to light up Mt. Fuji’s summit at night.

Mt. Fuji is a source of pride for all of Japan, and especially for the people of Shizuoka, one of the two prefectures the mountain straddles (Yamanashi being the other). So perhaps it’s not too surprising that Pi Photonics Inc., with its office in Shizuoka’s Hamamatsu City, would want to incorporate Mt. Fuji in its public image.

But sometimes love makes you do crazy things, and Pi Photonics, which specializes in LED light fixtures, has come up with a pretty questionable way to demonstrate its affection for Mt. Fuji. The company has announced that it would like to set up a network of remote-controlled lights ringing the top of Mt. Fuji, which would come on at night and light up part of the summit.

It’s an unfortunate truth that Japan’s lack of space often results in modern society encroaching on natural and cultural spaces. Even still, there are some lines which the public at large just isn’t comfortable crossing, as evidenced by the flood of objecting opinions being posted online in the wake of Pi Photonics announcement of its idea.

“What a thoughtless plan.”
“Leave nature natural”
“Please stop. People won’t be able to see the stars anymore.”
“Selfish, arrogant humans are always willing to destroy nature to make some money, aren’t they?”
“That company is rotten to the core.”

Even in the face of the backlash, though, Pi Photonics refuses to give up on the controversial initiative. “We are hoping for an opportunity in which we can seriously discuss the idea,” the company said in a statement released after the first wave of criticism, and it’s sticking to its earlier stance of hoping to begin testing by the end of the year.

It should be noted that, as of this time, the company’s plan is completely unilateral. None of the national or regional authorities that would have to sign off on the project have made any indication that they are in favor of it, and it’s doubtful any will, especially in light of the increased scrutiny being placed on Mt. Fuji’s conditions by UNESCO.

As such, it’s likely that the project will never progress beyond a bit of grandiose posturing by Pi Photonics, and also entirely possible the company never had any intention of actually installing the light fixtures, but was merely hoping for a bit of free publicity. However, it’s doubtful the organization was hoping for the attention to be so negative in tone, and cancelling the project by its own volition would at least be a step towards repairing its reputation in the eyes of the ecologically and culturally conscious.

▼ It would also make the second half of its slogan, “Photonics for human health. Photonics for Earth health,” a little easier to swallow.

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Sources: Hachima Kiko, Yahoo! News Japan
Insert image: Pi Photonics