The pioneer behind Kashiragashima’s growth and development

A man named Maeda Gidayu was responsible for the migration of Tainoura’s Christians to Kashiragashima, as well as for the founding Kashiragashima village

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Candidates for a world heritage

Kashiragashima Church Kashiragashima Church
Kashiragashima Church

Kashiragashima, once a deserted island, began to be substantially cleared and cultivated from 1858 onwards, by Maeda Gidayu, a figure hailing from Goto’s Hisaka island. Maeda, whose childhood name was Gisuke, entered the flourishing whaling trade along with his older brother Chojuro at Goto’s port of Arikawa, and decided upon clearing and cultivating Kashiragashima. Finding people to settle on the island proved difficult, however, so he invited Christians who had previously migrated to Tainoura on Nakadori island from Sotome. The migration which Maeda encouraged was the catalyst for the formation of a Catholic village on Kashiragashima. Maeda was in fact a Buddhist, but in his grandchildren’s time he converted to Catholicism. His gravestone still remains in the Fukuura district of the island. The splendid memorial, carved from Goto stone, is covered on three sides by a text engraved in Classical Chinese writing style entitled “Origins of Kashiragashima”. It is now considered an important historical artefact.