The Abashiri Prison and Abashiri
This is a story that took place about 115 years ago. The Edo era ended and the Meiji era began. Around that time, Men cropped their topknots and wore their hair bobbed. Less and less people wore
swords. This story took place in this desolate fishing village at the edge of Japan Island 20 years after the Meiji Restoration. In winter, the ocean near the village was frozen. So the
life was hard for the pioneers. Ten years passed, and the number of people who remain in the village in winter finally started to increase. That was what Abashiri was like at that time.
One day, a government official with a fine beard came to the village. The official walked around the village and then climbed a mountain. And the found a spot he was looking for. On the north
here was the Sea of Okhotsk, and Lake Abashiri was on the south. Lake Notori lied on the Westland a big river drifted at the foot of the mountain.
“Oh, great. This is it! It is hard to escape from here. And it is easy for us to keep an eye on them.”
One month later, Fifty tough-looking men came to the village with their hands and legs tied in iron chains. The men cut down big trees in the forest near the river, following the instruction of their watchman.
Then they built a hut for themselves using the trees they cut down.Next month, Fifty more men came to the village with their hands and legs chained together.
And the people in the village found out that the men had built a large prison could take in 1000 prisoners. At the entrance it was written “Kushiro Prison.” Abashiri Foreign Affairs Office,
Prison staff who watched 1000 prisoners came to the village with their families.The population of the village multiplied suddenly. Before long, More and more merchants came
and open shops around this area, The village became the most lively place in the area.
Story of “Abashiri and Abashiri Prison” now starts. The town of Abashiri and the prison sometimes joined in their efforts of cultivating the area. At other times, people in Abashiri
worked against the prison because they did not like the idea of Abashiri being famous for the prison. People wanted the prison to move to somewhere else. However, there is something
that we must remember. The roads and railroads that connect Abashiri to other towns, The airport where many people fly in and out every day now, The port where fishing boats
arrive with large amount of sea products from the Okhotsk, And the large farming land that produces plenty of crops in the fall, these are all made by the prisoners in Abashiri.
Many prisoners died here in Abashiri because of hard labor. So Abashiri and Abashiri Prison are in close relation in the history.
In this museum, the buildings that were actually in use in the Meiji era have been kept and shown to the public. The oldest building was built 109 years ago. It was built 6 years after the prison was established.
In those days,construction wood was made by hands, not by machines So you can see the rough surface of the big beams and pillars that the prisoners made.
Through visiting this museum would you like to get to know the mysterious historical story?
If so, please visit this web site.