Jo River- Dipping Nets and the Jogawa in 1951 (#51, 2017.11.1.41)
Jo River (Jogawa) 2018
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)
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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.