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From village-operated to national. A time slip to Japan’s first sailor training school : Awashima Island (Kagawa Prefecture)

We are at one of the islands floating in the Seto Inland Sea – Awashima Island in Kagawa Prefecture. Today we would like to introduce Awashima Sailor School, one of the island's famous places.



Opened in 1897 during the Meiji era, Amashima Sailor School was Japan’s very first institute designed to train sailors. The village initially operated it, but as time passed the school was nationalized and produced a great many hugely talented people who went onto work in the world of maritime transportation.


During the school's golden age, it is said that 1 in every 3 people on the island was somehow related to the school.


Clearly, the school’s existence was very important indeed for the island.



However, as demand for sailors gradually decreased, the school ended up closing its doors in 1987. Today the school serves as Amashima Island's Ocean Memorial Hall. It introduces the current state of the school with its nearly 90-year history.  



A large part of the building's spacious interior has been left as it was at the time of the school's operation. The creaking sound of the floorboards while walking in the corridors also gives an air of history.



However, this school is not just a place for feeling the winds of history.


You can see this sign attached to one of the rooms!



You wonder what it is, and when you enter the room, you see four tables.


On each of the tables, there is a ship made out of paper.


And there is something hanging from the ship.



It looks like a bottle.
And below, there is a note.



"Let's draw a sketch of this thing lifted from the bottom of the ocean."


This is a work of art by Katsuhiko Hibino that was displayed at the 2013 Setouchi Triennale (art festival). Since 2010, Katsuhiko Hibino has been diving around Awashima Island, among other locations, studying the seabed. The objects gathered during these trips to the bottom of the sea are the inspiration for this piece.


When making the piece, he apparently felt as though time had stopped.


You wonder what on earth this thing was used for. The answer differs depending on the person. One will say it's a juice bottle, and another that it's a flask. A child answered that it's the shape of a character from an animation series. What a unique answer!


Please take a look and let your imagination fly even more freely than that of a child.


How about slipping back in time to the Awashima of 90 years ago?


Contact details:

Awashima Ocean Memorial Hall

Location: 1541 Takumacho, Awashima, Mitoyo city, Kagawa Prefecure

TEL:  0875 – 84 – 7884

Website: http://www.mitoyo-kanko.com/?p=1448


Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Seitaro Miki



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