The salmon of Nemuro Strait have enthralled people throughout the ages. Human life, which has continued for over 10,000 years; the repe...
Cool winds are blowing even in summer along the Nemuro Strait Coast, seen from Kunashiri Island. However, throughout its history, it was a very exciting and intense place. One of the important regions is the Notsuke Peninsula. Let's go back in time to when it was just a sandy peninsula jutting out into the strait.
People have gathered in the Shibetsu region building their culture around the salmon swimming upstream in autumn, since 10,000 years ago. In the background of the blooming culture of a northern ancient people called the Tobinitai culture, the salmon was the intermediary that was influencing the movement of its people. The countless remnants of pit-dwellings convey this history.
In the Ainu language, Shibetsu means the place with many salmon. In the final days of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Aizu Clan made Shibetsu part of its domain and began developing the region, utilizing the large amounts of salmon that return up the rivers, as a resource.
During the Meiji period, when Japan strove to be on par with the rest of the world, a fishing industry reliant upon the naturally fished salmon gradually exhausted its own resources. Consequently, the people practiced half-fishing and half-livestock farming on the coast, and so in the inland regions farming and agriculture could begin.
In the 40th year of Showa, the results of the artificial hatchery industry came to fruition, and the long continued poor catch of salmon was renewed to one of incredible numbers. The once high class fish became an essential staple of Japanese cuisine. People's lifestyle with salmon in towns on the Nemuro Strait Coast has lasted since the Jomon period. So, we ask: what is the nature of this relationship today?