Otaru: Herring and Glassware; Keeping Alive Otaru's Tradition

Journeys in Japan

28m 00s
Broadcast on May 4, 2021 Available until March 31, 2023

The city of Otaru, on the Sea of Japan coast of Hokkaido Prefecture, was founded about 150 years ago and grew rapidly as the main port for shipping coal from mines in the region. It also became the primary fishing port for the massive herring catch. The fish were used as fertilizer by farms growing cotton. For this reason, demand was strong and herring fetched a high price. Many people made their way to Otaru hoping to prosper from the herring business, and the city's population grew rapidly. In response to this economic boom in Otaru, as many as 25 banks opened branches in the city and it became Hokkaido's financial and trading center. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Isis Berns explores the city of Otaru, delving into its history of fishing and glass-making, to discover the proud vestiges of its past prosperity.

Program Outline