Easter Island (Chile)

An isolated island in the Pacific Ocean. See the statue of Moai and imagine the “collapse of civilization” unfolded here.

This is a place that is geographically known as a remote area in the world. Many people can understand the place where the “Moai statue” is located. It will be entered by plane, but it is about 5 hours from Santiago, Chile. I think it is close to the feeling of going to Hawaii from Japan or the continental United States, but from the perspective of the island’s peculiarity, it is a place that stands out.

It is a “must” to understand history when visiting this place. If you take the knowledge in advance and see this island including the Moai statue, you will feel a special feeling.

First of all, as for pre-learning, I read two books, “Collapse” and “A short history of progress”. These two books are very intriguing because they have a description of Easter Island. This place is the place that embodies the collapse of civilization. This is a brief summary.

“People who arrived from Polynesia began to live in the island, which was rich in nature at that time, but the population began to increase, the island’s resources such as timber and seabirds were exhausted, and conflicts began, and the population decreased to the extent that it could be counted. The Moai statue was an idol of a king or a high-ranking man at the time, and was created and worshiped to watch over the villagers, but when the resources were depleted and the conflict began, the statue was overthrown. The inability of the people of this island to interact with other islands due to geographical problems is one factor in the collapse of civilization. “

Now, what I was very interested in when I visited this place was that the people were very kind. This place is the countryside, but everyone is very friendly. For example, when I was walking on an empty road, a woman walking from the front stopped at me and looked at me with a surprised expression and greeted me “Hello” in Japanese with a big smile. Also, I was looking for some place and asked about 10 locals in the shops and streets in the village of “Hanga Roa” in the center of the island, but all of them without looking annoyed. When the ATM did not work, the person near me took me to a bank nearby.

After reading the book above, I realized that the island was once peaceful, with multiple tribes living on their own lands, but with different tribes interacting with each other. Later, resources will be exhausted and conflict will occur, but basically there will be DNA that respects the other party.

There are many historic sites on the island centered around the Moai statue, so ask a guide to go around. You can go around alone, but you will have a hard time finding a place, and without the live explanations and interactions of the guide, you will not be able to feel the history of the island.

There are two places I personally recommend. One is “Rano Raraku”, where the Moai statue was cut out. The other is the “Orongo ruins”. Rano Raraku is a place where Moai statues before completion and before movement are scattered on the slope of the mountain, and the appearance of Moai statues scattered in the green grass is a masterpiece. There are several places on the island where the Moai statues are lined up, but I was most impressed by this place where the statues were scattered.

Personally, I visited for the purpose of confirming “the place that embodied the collapse of civilization”, but the impression that it was a peaceful and calm place remained, and I did not feel anything frightening at all. Nowadays, goods are brought from the mainland of Chile, so I do not think that the collapse of civilization like before will occur, but the lesson is that the excessive human desires will cause imbalance and problems. It may be important to always keep it in mind and act.

In addition, this Rano Raraku has a Moai statue with legs. This means that there was a person who remembered his deceased son and made something different from the traditional statue, but the king decided that he was a treason and was killed. For example, it seems that you should not do anything strange, just as a Buddha statue has a certain shape. This statue will be overlooked just by walking, so I think it’s a good idea to have a guide take you there.

The other is the Orongo ruins. It is located above the volcanic crater in the south of the island, but you can see it from here, the island (Motu Nui Island) where the bird-human ritual was held and the destination to get the bird’s eggs. And above all, the endless view of the azure sea that spreads out in front is a masterpiece. Recognizing that this place is an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean, looking at this scenery will give an idea of what it was like to be able to reach this place by canoeing. But in the first place, you must be surprised that people live in such places.

From a slightly different point of view, what happened on this island can be replaced with the current ruler, which is the whole earth. This means that if we do not solve the problems of global resource depletion and population growth, something similar to what happened on this island may happen. In preparation for this, it may be necessary to escape from the earth, and in that sense, technology to escape from the earth may be necessary.

By the way, this island is very safe and it is not dangerous to walk in the dark in the middle of the night. The guide said, “There are not any bad people at all, so you should be careful,” but I never felt people’s eyes or unpleasant impressions.

The guest house where I stayed was a place where dogs, cats, and chickens roamed in the garden, and I was able to talk with the hotel owner lady over a cup of coffee every night. Recently, it seemed to be doing well in terms of business because of the increase in tourists, but she was concerned that the number of cars was much larger than in the past. Also, this place has a very long life expectancy, and many people are over 100 years old, but the woman who runs such a hotel smoked every night when I met. “Isn’t smoking good for you?” She answered with a laugh, “Yes, my companion didn’t smoke, but it was quick to go.”

I feel that this place is one of the ultimate destinations for the people who travel around the world, but I hope that you can feel the warmth of the people of the island while understanding the history of this island.

Visited in 2019

Basic Information

​ ■ Name: Easter Island
​ ■ Homepage:  https://www.britannica.com/place/Easter-Island