Mera(布良) in Tateyama , Chiba Prefecture
My wife and I visited Mera village in Tateyama on June 22. We often visit Tateyama at the pace of three times a year, but visiting Mera is the first time for us. Mera is a fishing village and is the birthplace of the fishery method called tuna longline fishing(延縄漁法). In the Meiji Period, Mera village became famous for fishermen all over Japan because expensive tuna were fished up. So the population in Mera had increased, and banks and movie theaters were built in the small fishing village. But tuna fishing was so dangerous that many fishermen died.So the fish ship was sometimes called as widow's ship. A number of cultures such as folk song "Awa bushi(安房節）" was also made .
A famous painter, Mr. Shigeru Aoki( 青木 繁) stayed in a private house for about two months and drew the painted masterpiece, inspiring from the fishermen in the sea with full of life energy. The masterpiece is named 'umi-no-sachi（海の幸）. It designated as an important cultural asset of the country in 1967.
What is Longline fishing(延縄漁法) ?
Longline fishing is a commercial fishing technique. It uses a long line, connected with branch lines with baited hooks attached at intervals. Branch lines can also be set by means of an anchor, or left to drift. Hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks can hang from a single line. Longline fishing commonly targets swordfish, tuna, and many other species.
Who is Shigeru Aoki(青木 繁) ?
Shigeru Aoki is the painter of the noted Western style painting "海の幸(Food from the sea)" that was designated as the first national important cultural asset in Japan
He was born in Kurume City in Kyusyu. In 1899, he dropped out of junior high school and decided to become a painter. He went to Tokyo, and entered to Shimotaro Oyama's college camp school. In the following year, he entered the department of Western style painting of Tokyo Art School in 1900 and graduated in July 1904. During the time, he got many prestigious award for his paintings. In 1904, he went to Mera fishing village in Tateyama City, Chiba Prefecture, and stayed there until the end of August, and he drew his painted masterpiece named "Umi no satchi(海の幸)" , and it gathered the further attention. He showed his confidence painted work "Wadatsumi no Irokono Miya"(わだつみのいろこの宮) at the 1907 Tokyo Exhibition, but the result was the third prize. He was very disappointed. In the same year August he backed home because of the death of Kurume 's father, he aimed to return to the central painter world, but the hope did not come true. After wandering throughout Kyushu, he died of lung disease. His paintings were located at the top of the Meiji romantic painting. He died at 28.