An island of settlers
During the Edo period, many Christians migrated to Nozaki island in search of a new life. Today, many of those who live on Ojika island have also arrived there from elsewhere, and these settlers have brought fresh energy to the island.
As of 2013, of the 2,750 people who were living on Ojika, 120 had come to live there from elsewhere (from locations including Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka). Some of these settlers came alone and some with their families. They had various motivations. Some wished to be fishermen or farmers, others to work in the local tourism industry.
About half of the staff members of “Ojika Island Tourism” are settlers from elsewhere. They support the island’s tourism industry, by conducting tours of Former Nokubi church, for example. These people have brought fresh energy and ideas to Ojika. Tsuchikawa Sachiko, a Catholic who attends Ojika Church, is one such person. She once helped guide a group of people from abroad (who were looking for an uninhabited place where they could focus solely on prayer) to Nozaki island. That was 40 years ago, but after these people went home Ms. Tsuchikawa decided to settle down on Ojika. "Through a self-sufficient lifestyle and surrounded by nature in all its simplicity, I can feel that God is very close". Just as many Christians moved to Nozaki island during the Edo period in search of a new way of life, so too today have many people been drawn to start a new life on Ojika. The island’s charm is what first attracted many of them there, and now they have become a part of helping to make Ojika’s cultural heritage more widely known and appreciated.