Joint Research Projects

Historical Study of Deep Sea Fishing in Oshima, Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture: Focus on Materials Salvaged from Great East Japan Earthquake

Fishing, using boats, has traditionally been a major occupation in the Oshima area in Kesennuma The techniques used have been highly valued by the neighboring communities and have contributed to the development of the fishing industry throughout the entire region. During the period known as Wasen Jidai, or the period of Japanese-style wooden boats in the Meiji era, there were 50 fishing business owners. But after the introduction of motorized vessels in the Taisho era, the number of owners decreased to around 10. The local people studied on their own to obtain the licenses required to become captains and engineers, eventually playing an important role in local fisheries as senior officers. In 1991, there were 70 senior fishing boat officers from the Oshima area. However, in light of the harsh situation surrounding deep sea fishing of bonito and tuna, the hiring of new crew members was terminated in 1998.

For this reason, the history of the local deep sea fishing industry may fall into oblivion in the future. Therefore, this project’s goal is to examine, record, and preserve this history. Thanks to the establishment of the Oshima Fishery Library, materials on fisheries have been archived properly. This project aims to consider ways to preserve and utilize materials salvaged from the earthquake and tsunami, as well as collect more materials and personal memoirs relating to the Oshima area for research purposes.

Against the backdrop of the waning deep sea fishing industry, it is hoped that knowledge of how fishing business owners and fishermen overcame various difficulties in the past will be helpful not only for people in the industry but also for the local residents in their efforts to revive deep sea fishing. 

  Name Specialty Affiliation
PL CHIBA Katsue Fishing history Kesennuma City Oshima Fishery Library
PM EBINA Yuichi Japanese Early Modern history International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University
PM KAWASHIMA Shuichi Folklore International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University
PM KIKUTA Eishiro English and American Literature Kesennuma City Oshima Children’s House
PM MIZUKAMI Tadao Fishing history Kesennuma City Oshima Fishery Library
PM OKAWA Hiromu Modern Japanese history Kanagawa University
PM OYAMA Yukiko Regional history Kesennuma City Oshima Fishery Library
PL-Project leader    PM-Project member 

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MEXT Approved Joint Use / Research Center

Kanagawa University
International Center for Folk Culture Studies