The “Walking power” course, “Fieldwork in Tsushima” was held from October 30 to November 2, 2018. It was one of the 2018, Fall Semester Program B courses (Future Asia Project), which was open to all of our graduate school’s students, as well as undergraduate and graduate students from other schools and departments.
Tsushima, located between the Asian continent and the mainland of Japan, has played an important role in the development of the natural environment, biodiversity, culture and society in Japan. This project was intended to improve the "walking ability" program students through onsite field work on Tsushima’s conservation on rare wild animals and plants, and historical sites. It also was intended to improve the students’ “designing ability”, on Japan's biodiversity conservation and future relationships with Asian countries. Participating from the scientific side was Dr. Araya, and from the humanities side, Dr. Tajiri, Dr. Onimaru, Dr. Hall from the Global Promotion Office, Dr. Tawara, a staff member in the Global Promotion Office, as well as five graduate students from our graduate school.
We left the university at 9:00PM on Oct. 30, and took a midnight ferry from the Hakata Ferry Terminal, arriving at the Izuhara Port at Tsushima early in the morning of Oct. 31. Izuhara was the castle town of the Tsushima Domain, and the entrance to the south of Tsushima. After breakfast, while waiting for the arrival of another professor by plane, we visited Banshoin, a complex which includes the graves of the So Family lords, the lords of the Tsushima Domain. It includes the Bodaiji Temple, which was built in 1645, and is located on the west side of the So Family’s Kaneishi Castle ruins.
Hakata Port Sunrise at Izuhara Port
Banshoin, Izuhara City Graves of the So Family Lords
Leaving the Izuhara City area, the we headed to Kamizaka Park. This is a park located at an altitude of about 380 meters, and provided an overlook the rias-type coast of Aso Bay, a kind of topography unique to Tsushima. The park also included gun sites built by the old Japanese army.
Next, we headed to the Komodahama Shrine and the Shiine District on the west coast of southern Tsushima. This was the site where the Mongolian and Korean armies landed during the Bunei Invasion of 1274. It is famous for a ceremony that is held there every November. Participants, wearing traditional armor, the Armor Warrior 's Mission held in November every year, in which they face the sea with bows and arrows and pluck the bows’ strings. We also visited the stone shale roof warehouses in the Shiine district, which is a folk cultural property peculiar to Tsushima. For lunch ate Tsushima's local cuisine at the restaurant "Rokubee".
The view Aso Bay from Kamizaka Park Gun emplacements from the Japanese Army
Komodahama Shrine Stone shale roofs in the Shiine district
The theme for the field work on Wednesday, October 30, was "nature". Under the guidance of Professor Araya, we travelled to the Uchiyama area to visit the Tsushima Leopard Cat wild animal acclimation station at the base of Tatera Mountain. The Tsushima Leopard Cat wild acclimatization station has been developed by the Ministry of the Environment since 2012 as a facility to acclimate wildcats born off of the island to the Tsushima’s nature, and return it to the wild. It is not normally open to the public. We were allowed special permission to enter the building, and receive a lecture and a tour of the facilities from the Ministry of the Environment staff. After that, we carried out field work in the natural forest at the base of Tatera Mountain. That evening we stayed at Otsukigoshi, a Mitsushimacho Ofunakoshi, located near the Aso Bay.
Tsushima Leopard Cat wild acclimatization station Lecture
The wild acclimatization station Fieldwork in the forest at Tatera Mountain
The theme for Thursday, Nov. 3, was "historic sites". In the morning, under guidance of Professor Tajiri, we carried out field work of Kaneda castle ruins (a national designated special historic site). Kaneda Castle is on mountain known as Joyama. It was one of the ancient mountain castles built in various places in Kyushu and western Japan, along with a reorganization of the military, by the Yamato Imperial Court after its defeat in the battle of Baekgang, in Korea (633). It is a Korean-style mountain castle. The castle was reused at the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and the modern era, and the remains of early 20th century Japanese military activities remain on the summit.
Walls of the Kaneda Castle A view of Aso Bay from the mountaintop
Watatsumi Shrine To no Kubi remains
It is the last day of field work was Friday, November 2. We visited the Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center as the main activity in the morning. We received a lecture from the staff of the Ministry of the Environment who worked at the center. In addition to the problems of the Tsushima Leopard Cat, we heard valuable stories relating to Tsushima's overall wildlife situation and environmental conservation, and had a lively Q & A session. After we visited the exhibition facilities, we left the center at 11 o'clock, and headed to the port of Izuhara. We arrived at the port by 2 pm, and Professor Araya gave some final words of farewell. After that, we returned home by ferry, airplane, etc.
Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center Tsushima Leopard Cat
Although we were only able to spend two and a half days on the island, we were able to have a variety of valuable experiences, including receiving valuable lectures, and entering Ministry of the Environment facilities which are not normally open to the public. In addition, the participating faculty, staff, and students were able to deepen mutual friendships. We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to ever