Japan: Hirakata-san & the Tokuyama Dam

Ayu in English translates as Sweet Fish but I’m guessing that doesn’t mean a lot to many people. Ayu are fresh water fish that can be found in rivers throughout Japan and East Asia. And the Japanese love them. Especially in the central regions such as Gifu and Nagano which are far from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan.

Hirakata-san used to live in Tokuyama village in Gifu before in was flooded in a controversial dam project in which all the residents were forced to leave and find new homes. The Ayu, which were a staple of the villagers in Tokuyama, were affected too as they could no longer migrate upstream to spawn. Hirataka-san says he misses his old life but seems content in his new home that also serves as a makeshift bar for the local community.


ヒラカタさんは岐阜県の徳山村に住んでいましたがダムが建設されたので村が消えてしまいました。現在、岐阜県の関市に住んでいます。徳山村は懐かしいと語っているけど、木曽川のとなりにある彼の家は民間バー (?)になり、沢山のお客さまとワイワイしているらしい。


Hirakata-san’s home
His home becomes a makeshift community bar in the evening
Grilled Ayu and rice ball
Telling stories about Tokuyama
Hirataka-san grilling ayu for guests.
After the meal

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