chapter  II
13 Pages

THE SETTING

Shingū-machi (or Shingū-chō; “machi” and “chō” are two alternative ways to read the Chinese ideogram meaning “township”) is a result of several amalgamations of former independent villages, During the Tokugawa period the villages were to a great extent autonomous, based on one or a few hamlets. A distinction was made between farming villages mura and fishing villages ura. One fishing village was Shingū-ura. After the Meiji Restoration the distinction between these two kinds of villages was lifted, and our community became known as Shingū-mura. A sweeping reorganization of the villages was conducted in 1889, and five separate villages were merged to form the new Shingū-mura. These five were the farming villages of Shimonofu, Kaminofu and Minato plus the fishing villages of Shingū and Ainoshima. In 1954 the status of Shingū-mura was changed to township, and it became Shingū-machi. Finally, the next year Shingū-machi was merged with the neighbouring village of Tachibana-mura.