Kochi: Stone Stacks Helping Stroke Patient’s Road to Recovery

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Morimi Nagano rebuilds a stack of stones that had toppled in Aki, Kochi Prefecture.

AKI, Kochi — About 40 stacks of stones resembling unique sculptures line the coastline along more than 100 meters of a bicycle path on an embankment that stretches from a fishing port in the city of Aki.

These stone stacks are actually a form of rehabilitation for Morimi Nagano, who has suffered two strokes. He began stacking in March to help regain movement in his fingers.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Stone stacks by Morimi Nagano

Nagano, 64, initially used building blocks at home as part of his rehabilitation. However, he had become quite inactive after injuring both knees in the summer of 2021, and was concerned at the weight he was gaining, especially around his belly. At his doctor’s recommendation, Nagano began going for long walks early in the morning. During one of these walks, the stones on the beach caught his eye — and inspired him to start stacking.

Nagano has been good with his hands since he was a child and found that the more he stacked stones, the more his enjoyment grew. He has even built stacks made with over 60 stones. The delicately balanced piles of rocks are striking, and some passersby even take photos of his creations. Although the piles frequently topple, Nagano has not lost heart. He intends to continue stacking stones because it brings him joy and is part of his return to full health.

“It bothered me at first, but to each their own,” he said.