echigonagaoka> Sado Island> Tsugami Shrine

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Tsugami Shrine


Get off #3 bus (Higashi-Kaigan-sen) at "O'ogawa" bus stop.

Photo.86.1 Red Bridge connecting Tsugami Shrine

Tsugami shrine looks similar with Yajima-Kyojima islands because both are small islands that can be accessed by red arch bridges. If there is a difference between the two, it would be that Yajima-Kyojima islands are popular sightseeing spots with a tub boat, while Tsugami Shrine is far less popular to tourists.

Photo.86.2 Torii Gate of Tsugami Shrine

Tsugami Shrine's Annual festival is held on April 18, Year prayer festival on March 18, and New harvest festival on November 18. A record says that a holy object was found at the seashore of Nomizu, Suizu village on August 18, 1152. The shrine was initiated by installing that object at a little higher place than current O'okawa village. It is not known for the year when the shrine was moved to the present location on the small island. It might have been before Genroku Era (1688 - 1704)1). Another record says "The shrine was moved to a small island floating in the sea by the village, and the name was changed to ‘Tsugami Dai Myojin' in 1791" 2). Three gods are enshrined; Sokotsutsuno-Omikoto, Nakatsutsuno-Omikoto, and Uwatsutsuno-Omikoto. In the Shintoism, these are Sumiyohi-Three-Gods who are marine guardians for safety of voyage and a good fish catch. They took over the mind of Empress Jinguu who was a wife of 14th emperor Chuuai. The gods urged her to invade Korean Peninsula3).

Photo.86.3 shows anchors that were found from the sea bottom of 20 meter depth. They were cut off so that ships could quickly escape from the storm4).

Photo.86.3 Anchors Found in Nearby Sea Bottom

The small and short lighthouse is just behind the Tsugami Shrine. It was a private owned lighthouse.

Photo.86.4 Oldest Privately-owned Lighthouse

The following is a kind of micro history of the O'okawa village;
Pseudo-Manchukuo (1932 - 1945) was the puppet Qing Nation fabricated by Imperial Japan's aggression onto Chinese land. In 19405), Sado people started a movement to build their own community on the land where is currently northeastern China. In that movement, people of Kamo and Kawasaki Wards became major part. 32 Sado islanders arrived in the place where is currently Gannan County, Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang Province6) on February 11, 1941. But the place turned to be a huge damp in summer. It was impossible to cultivate such land. So people urged to the government and moved to the place where is currently Boli County, Qitaihe City, Heilongjiang Province7), and started over cultivation again. At the end of WWII, number of people were 190; 57 men, 52 women, and 81 children, although some of men were conscripted at the time. On August 9, 1945, Soviet Army started attacking Pseudo-Manchukuo, Soon Japan surrendered to United Nations on August 15. Japanese farmers headed south to get out of the collapsed Pseudo-Manchukuo, however, many of them died. O'okawa village had sent 24 people of 6 families. Only 6 could return to home, 18 died. There were two families whose members all died.

Of course it is unfair to mention victims of Japanese side only without paying attention to Chinese side. Actually the damage on Chinese side was so huge that could not be written as part of a travel guide of Sado Island. The purpose of this episode is to remind us how people were suffered from the war that a nation started. Even a small and tranquil village like O'okawa has such a history.