A group of fishermen in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and the government of Ogimison in Okinawa Prefecture are working together to reconstruct the monument for Shinsho Miyagi, considered to be the father of oyster farming in Japan. The monument, originally built in the Ogihama fishing port in Ishinomaki, was heavily damaged by the March 11 tsunami in 2011.
The 3-meter monument was made of local “Inei” stone. A message by food journalist Asako Kishi written on a metal slate was added to the monument in 2010. Asako was Miyagi’s daughter. However, like a lot of fixtures around it, the monument was destroyed by the tsunami, its upper section was broken off entirely.
Shinji Fushimi, an oyster fisherman at Ogihama port and chief auditor of the prefectural fisheries cooperative, formed a committee with fellow fishermen to reconstruct the monument in autumn 2011 and called for support of Ogimison. Ogimison, the birthplace of Miyagi, has responded by trying to collect donations of about 5 million yen (approx. $54,000) to rebuild the monument in the autumn. Miyagi had to learn the basics of oyster farming in the United States, after graduating from Kunigami agricultural school in Okinawa. Upon returning to Japan, he invented an oyster farming method called “suikashiki yoreiho,” in which seed oysters are hung from ropes attached to rafts in the sea.
The method was first adopted in 1925 in Ishinomaki and has spread across the nation. Miyagi has been dubbed “Japan’s oyster king.” His monument was then built at the port in 1979 to recognize Miyagi’s achievement and as a symbol of the development and growth of the country’s oyster industry.[ via Asia One ]