Monument honoring Shinjo Miyagi – father of the cultured oyster – to be restored

Monument honoring Shinjo Miyagi - father of the cultured oyster - to be restored

January 10, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Ogimi Municipal Office has established a special committee to support the rebuilding of the monument honoring Miyagi Shinsho in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. The late Shinsho Miyagi (1884-1967), who was from the Arime district of Ogimi, was referred to in Miyagi Prefecture as the father of the cultured oyster. The monument was destroyed by the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the Ogimi Municipal Office will do all it can to support the reconstruction of the monument.

Known as a “father of the cultivated oyster,” or the “king of oysters,” after Miyagi graduated from Kunigami Agricultural High School, he went to North America to study the cultivation of oysters. After his return to Japan, together with his family, he opened a large-scale oyster farm on the Oginohama coast, as well as at Mangoku-ura in Ishinomaki. He developed what is termed the hanging-method, a culturing technique by which oysters are threaded together on ropes, and succeeded in rapidly increasing production.

Shinjo Miyagi

In 1979 a monument to honor his work was erected at Oginohama Port in Ishinomaki, but this was knocked over by the tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake, and was later discovered broken in half in July 2011.

Secretary-general of the Fisheries Cooperative Association in Miyagi Prefecture, Shinji Fushimi, put together a committee to deal with the restoration of the monument, thinking that preserving the broken monument would serve as a symbol for reconstruction. “We also lost houses and ships and are still in the process of recovery. We set up this committee so we can take another step in that process,” Fushimi commented. Kenryu Miyagi, Miyagi’s relative who has lived in Miyagi Prefecture and is now head of Nerome Ward in Ogimi, called for the people of Ogimi to support the project. In response, a special committee led by Ogimi Mayor Yoshihisa Shimabukuro was established in December last year to commemorate Miyagi’s work and to promote the restoration of the monument. kiyoomi Yamashiro, the deputy mayor of Ogimi, commented, “We cannot force people in Miyagi Prefecture to bear the burden of this. We want to support this project.”

The monument honoring Shinjo Miyagi - the father of cultured oysters, before the disaster.

The committee aims to raise 5000000 yen and to start the construction from September this year. On January 19 and 20, a panel discussion led by Asako Kishi, the second daughter of Miyagi and a food and life journalist, will be held at the Ogimi Industrial Festival. They hope to expand activities from there.
For more information on making a donation, please contact Motoko Inafuku at the head office on 080 6494 8220.

(Photographs provided by the special committee in Ogimi)

(English translation by T&CT, Kyoko Tadaoka and Mark Ealey)

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