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Jo River- Dipping Nets and the Jogawa in 1951  (#51, 2017.11.1.41)

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Jo River (Jogawa) 2018

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Nets and the Jogawa River

The 1951 Photographed by an American Military Doctor Dipping

Apr. 1st, 2018

Translated by Stefan Ramos

The present day Jogawa River (17km long) flows through the old Kyukanancho and Kyuyamotocho neighborhoods and fills up the Ishinomaki Port. Until the early days of the Meiji Period, because they originated from Araodake Mountain in Osaki City’s Naruko hot springs town in the Tamatsukurigun District there were rivers named things like Tamatsukurigawa, Araogawa, Eaigawa, or the Teruigawa River (which was named after a lord) that poured directly into the sea through the Omagari coast.

After Shigeyoshi Kawamuramagobe joined together the Eaigawa, Hasamagawa, and the Kitakamigawa rivers in 1616, because the water source was cut off in the old Kyukanancho Tatsunokuchi neighborhood the river was afterwards called the Jogawa River.

The Jogawa River, which flows across flat land, has at high tide an upstream flow of salt water.  The masses of reeds that can be seen growing on either bank show how the brackish waters of mixing fresh and salt water cultivate the reeds in the slow-flowing river.

Along the Jogawa River at night there were also places where the work horses that labored all day long could wash themselves. Because [this author’s] mother’s family home was in front of the river in Minamiakai, he often went to the Jogawa River, but has a strange memory of wondering what those little huts on the water’s surface were. Before long he figured out that they were dipping net huts for catching river fish.

Dipping nets were square, bag-like nets onto which one would attach bait, that would be submerged under the water, and that would lure in the fish. Fishermen would look out from the huts for the fish to enter the net, and as this fishing gear would be lifted up the moment the fish entered it was one type of lift net. Using the same fishing methods on the Kitakamigawa River basin’s Hasamagawa and Narusegawa Rivers fishermen would aim for fish like koi, crucian carp, and catfish; in brackish waters they would aim for dotted gizzard shad [also called spotted sardines], small goby, or chum salmon that had returned to where they were born in the Kitakamigawa River around the prefectural border. In the 50’s of the Showa Period [1975-1985] dipping nets for whitebait fishing could be seen around Mangokuura.
         It can be said that around 1951 (Showa 26) [Japan] broke out of the food shortage. The small fish caught by the dipping nets became dashi [a quintessential fish broth used in Japanese cooking] and a precious source of animal protein for the farmers who could not get fresh fish in inland areas. In many a sunken fireplace, kitchen, and roof could be seen benkei, grilled fish on bamboo skewers. (Local Historian, Seiji Henmi)

<Please let us know if you have any information>

You can browse the published photos on the photographer’s eldest son, Alan Butler’s, website “Miyagi 1951”. https://www.miyagi1951.com/

Please feel free to contribute any information regarding these photos to Mr. Henmi at 090(4317)7706.

米軍医が撮った1951、石巻地方<11> 四つ手網漁と定川

現在の定川(延長約17キロ)は、旧河南町と旧矢本町などを流れて石巻港に注ぎます。江戸時代初期までは、玉造郡(大崎市鳴子温泉町)の荒雄岳を源流としたことから、玉造川や荒雄川、江合川、領主名から照井川などと呼ばれて、直接、大曲海岸で海に注ぐ河川でした。
 川村孫兵衛重吉が1616年、江合川、迫川、北上川の3川を合流した後、旧河南町龍ノ口付近で水源が断たれたことから、それ以降は定川と呼ばれています。
 平たん地を流れる定川は、満潮時には海水が遡上(そじょう)します。川沿いの両岸に「ヨシ」の群生が見られるのは、流速が遅いことでヨシが生育する淡水と海水の混在する汽水域ができていることを示しています。
 定川は夕刻、一日働いた農耕馬の体を洗い水浴びさせる所でもありました。母親の実家が南赤井の川前にあったので、子どもの頃、定川によく行きましたが、水面の小屋は何だろうと不思議な思いで見たものです。やがて川魚を漁獲する四つ手網小屋と知りました。

 四つ手網は、正方形の袋状の網に餌を付けて水中に沈めておびき寄せ、魚が網に入るのを小屋で見張り、入った瞬間に引き揚げて漁獲する漁具で、敷網の一種です。北上川流域の迫川、鳴瀬川でも同様の漁法でコイ、フナ、ナマズなど、汽水域ではコノシロ、ハゼの小魚、北上川の県境付近では生まれた川に戻ってくるシロザケを狙い、昭和50年代には万石浦でシラウオの四つ手網漁を目にしています。
 1951(昭和26)年ごろは食糧難から抜け出したとはいえ、四つ手網で漁獲された小魚は、内陸部で鮮魚が入手できない農家の貴重な動物タンパク源と「だし魚」となり、いろりや台所の天井には竹串に焼き魚を刺した「弁慶」の光景が見られたものです。(郷土史家・辺見清二)
 

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