The map of Kinki Region shows most of Kii Peninsula due south sticks out
into the Pacific Ocean. Wakayama prefecture spreads south-west of the peninsula.
Its upper area surrounded by Osaka, Nara and Mie prefectures is largely
occupied by deep-green mountains, so-called the Kii Mountains.
The southern end of this peninsula and also of Honshu Island facing the
Pacific Ocean is Cape Shio-no-misaki. It is right under the town Kushimoto
known well by the old folk song Kushimoto-bushi. It lies on the coordinate
axis inevitable for the news during the typhoon season together with Cape
Ashizuri and Cape Muroto in Shikoku Region. Around there it is mild throughout
the seasons with an atmosphere of the south. The grassland, Bohro-no-shiba,
is peaceful toward the sheer cliff, which, on the contrary, makes you feel
weak at the knees for fear.
Near the signboard "The Southernmost Point of Honshu Island, the marble
monument speaks the following to the sea.
We admire the previous generations from Kushimoto town and the surrounding
areas, who worked for collecting pearls and pearl oysters with the people
of the islands, around the Australian waters from 1878 to 1941.
Accordingly we build this monument honoring their outstanding achievement
to have contributed to the promotion and development of the pearl industry
in this sea area, and will hand down their contribution forever. (the end
Lucky day of September, 1998
of Building the Honor Monument
The country of Australia in the Southern Hemisphere, then under the name
of the principle of White Supremacism, was strongly persecuting and removing
the native inhabitants, and also excluding immigrants of non-white from
During those days, from the beginning of Meiji Era (about 1870s) until
the outbreak of Pacific War (1941), fishermen around Nanki-kumano district
of southern Wakayama prefecture went far down to Arafura Sea, the coastal
waters of northern Australia.
It was rare for them to land on the continent, but they were anchored at
Thursday Island, a small island near there, and were taken care of by local
residents staying at a simple lodge. They got the supply of food and fuel
mostly there. Ryotaro Shiba, a famous writer, refers to it in his novel
"Evening Party at Thursday Island."
- - - - - - - - -
While the sea area west of Cape Shio-no-misaki is known as "the Sea
of Kareki", the east side is called "the Sea of Kumano",
worth watching both the views with Kuroshio or the Black Stream swelling
and the scenery along the seashore.
From Kushimoto Station, the starting point of the bus route to the Cape,
heading for the east along the Sea of Kumano by a local train, Hashiguiiwa
Rocks immediately come into your view with the Island of Kii-oshima behind
Then the nearest stations to the sight spots are lined up, like Taiji of
whales, Yukawa of a spa, Katsuura of a tuna fishing port, Nachi of Nachi
Falls, Nachi Grand shrine and Seigantoji Temple. Beyond Nachi and after
2 stations, the local train stops at Miwasaki Station, unmanned, just before
Shingu Station, totally about in one hour.
Miwasaki in Shingu City. This town is the hometown of Kyozo Wozumi, a seaman.
It was Miwasaki village of Higashi-muro District, Wakayama prefecture at
that time, which is the main stage of this story.
Is this village nameless? Rather, its name appears, tracing the ancient
In the old poetry collection, Manyoshu, edited about 1300 years ago in
Nara Period (8th century), the following tanka poem can be seen.
|苦しくも 降りくる雨か 神が崎
|It is raining very hard here around Miwasaki.
There seem no houses anywhere as far as
my eye can see over Sano Village.
Miwasaki, then a poor village, near the southernmost of Kii Peninsula just
between mountains and the Sea of Kumano. It was still a remote village
like those old days, when Kyozo Wozumi was born.
Kyozo was born in the fall of Meiji 33 (1900) as the first child of a fisher
family. Though his father was sickly, seven children followed him one after
He went to an elementary school only a little, and began working on a small
boat in the sea under his father's direction. He was eager to be helpful
even as a child.
He went to Arafura Sea north of Australia in Taisho 5 (1916) at the age
of 16, on a small steamboat less than 100 tons. Since then, around this
sea area in the southern hemisphere, he devoted himself to collecting pearls
and pearl oysters staying on a steamboat as his home.
After 17 years' work there, in Showa 8 (1933), at the age of 33, luckily
lived on, he could return to his hometown Miwasaki on a small cargo steamboat
crossing the equator.
This is the story of such a seaman.
The year 1900 of Kyozo Wozumi's birth was the point to the new century,
when the 5th World Expo was held in Paris, France.
According to the yearbook, Japanese Government built the Japanese Hall
similar to the Golden Hall of Horyuji Temple there and exhibited antiques
including the belongings of the Imperial Family. Otojiro Kawakami with
his wife Sadayakko came there over to give their performance during their
play schedule overseas, as well as Soseki Natsume visited there on the
way to London to study.
The Russo-Japanese War began after 4 years.
Now our sight is set on a local town Miwasaki at that time.
Miwasaki facing the Sea of Kumano was a poor fishing village over a mountain
pass from the town Shingu which was well-off as a lumber distribution center.
Every fishing family was half making a living by farming because fishing
only was not enough for living.
Miwasaki with Sano and Kinokawa, western neighboring villages, was lumped
together under the name of "Miwasaki area", which was totally
populated by about 4,000 people with one elementary school.
As soon as the national isolation was over because of the government system
change from Edo to Meiji Period, many people began to emigrate or to go
abroad to work from various parts of Japan.
From Wakayama prefecture, quite a number of people emigrated to Brazil,
Los Angeles and Hawaii. But from Nanki-Kumano, the southern part of the
prefecture, especially from the towns and villages along the Sea of Kumano
from Kushimoto to Miwasaki, many fishermen went to work around Arafura
Sea beyond the equator.
For the purpose of lessening food expense and making money, a couple of
young men of the relatives of Wozumi were working over there. On the other
hand, Wozumi family was in the depths of poverty without such a way.
Matsuzo Wozumi, father, was liable to be sick, so he could not work for
the fishery well enough. Though Fuku, mother, worked hard in the poor field,
it was only little help.
When Kyozo, son, entered the elementary school, Matsuzo made his appendicitis
worse, and it occured with peritonitis.
The family did certainly not have enough money for him to see a doctor,
so he opened his stomach for himself with a knife fastened on his right
Young son Kyozo fervishly wiped pus out of the internal organs by cloth,
and squeezed the affected part under the direction of his father clenching
his teeth. Then he disinfected the wound and put the remaining cloth on
it. The father did not groan, and the son followed his father's weak hoarse
voice forgetting himself.
Kyozo did not go to elementary school even for a year, because it became
his daily routine to help his father go to the sea with him.
Matsuzo, father, died just before the age of 50, leaving 6 sons and 2 daughters
to his wife. He lived long considering his illness.
Fuku, his wife, lived another several years.