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NEWS023: Shimonoseki - Kyokuyo Shipyard's hometown

Map of Japan - shipbuilder's location

Okay, for those who are getting tired of hearing news about contracting, launching, or delivering of newbuilding ships, we will try to give you a brief description on Shimonoseki, the city where we are based on, just to change the air !

Japan consists of 5 major islands : Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa, namely, and Shimonoseki is the westernmost city of Honshu, separated from Kyushu by 1km-wide Kanmon Channel. This biggest city in Yamaguchi prefecture (westernmost prefecture of Honshu, as you guess!) with 250,000 population enjoys moderate climate and is very comfortable to live in. Kyokuyo Shipyard Corporation is located at Chofu area, ancient castle town on the seafront.

[picture on right : map of the western Japan]

Fuku or globefish

The main industry here is fishery. Famous fish market, regularly open in the morning and afternoon, keeps supplying us with fresh seafoods. But, what makes a difference from other ports is - globe fishes ! In fact, around 80% of wild globe fish catches in Japan are landed at Shimonoseki port. Ask your Japanese friend what he or she imagines about Shimonoseki, I'm sure he or she will reply "Fugu!" (means globe fish. By the way, a genuine and native Shimonoseki citizen call it "Fuku"). Japaneses love Fuku, and eat it raw, boiled, or fried, but good Fuku plates are quite costly feast available only in winter time. I have never tasted wild "Torafuku", the most pricey kind, since several years.

[photo on left : "Fuku" monument based on folk toy]

Ancient SamuraiShimonoseki is also a historical town. Back in the 12th century, two Samurai families struggled for dominance in Japan for decades. Once gained the hegemony in their hands, Heike family, started losing the game little by little against Genji family, and the final series of battle was commenced in 1180. The first battle in the series was fought at Kamakura, near Tokyo, then, as Heike was losing, place of battle was moved from the east to the west. In 1185, Heike was found themselves at the westernmost position in Honshu - Shimonoseki, the place for their final battle. When it was over, all the important members of Heike family, together with 8 year old emperor they were backing up, drowned themselves in the Kanmon Channel. Look at the photo on top of this page : this is Heike gani, or Heike crab, another speciality of Shimonoseki. A legend says that Heike's deep-seated grudge has turned the shell of this crab to horrifying face of samurai ! So, A shrine was built just after the war, to console the spirit of the suicided people. Now, the shrine, Akama Jinja, is one of the top tourist spots of the town.

[photo on left : portrait of Kiyomori Taira, big boss of Heike Family]

priestess in Akama shrine - shimonoseki

Lafcadio Hearn, an English author born in 1850 in Greece, also known as Yakumo Koizumi, the name he adopted after finally he settled down in Japan and obtained Japanese nationality, wrote a ghost story based on another legend about Heike told over generations. Its title is "Miminashi Houichi" (Houichi Without Ears), and found in his book entitled "Kwaidan" (Ghost Stories). If you ever have opportunity of getting the book in your hands, check the name of Shimonoseki appears in the first sentence of the story !

Oh, I have to stop my introduction of Shimonoseki due to space limitation ! I will come back, maybe. So, bye for now ! [03.07.31 / T. Miyoshi]

[photo on right : a priestess in Akama Jinja Shrine]

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