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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 6, 1905)
ISII farms, turtlo ranches, oyster gardens.
F goldfish, clam, eel. carp, and mullet p.ts
I tures, barnacle beds, salmon and trout
I patches abound In Japan.
The Island kingdom now first In war, and
determined to bo first In peace Is showing
the world ni'W things In the domestication
and cultivation of sea foods. Literally, the
Japanese are preparing to farm the bed of the ocean and
supply the orient, at least, with the delicacies of the sea
raised on scientific llms and cultivated to Immense profit.
The Japanese, always a vegetable and flsh eating na
tion, and until a few years ago a nation that ate no meat,
have adzed upon their natural advantages and are leading
the world In the cultivation of sea food. The oyster farms
of the Island empire are paying heavy dividends from the
sale of the succulent bivalve, and yielding fortunes In the '
byproduct pearls. The turtle ranches are turning out tens
of thousands of delicious tortoises each year. Japan has
stolen the goldfish from China and is selling a better
species back to their slower neighbors. Hundrds of acres
of fine streams are filled with the surplus from their sal
Having but 100,000 square miles of territory and 20,000
rnlles of shore line, with many bodies of f n sh water, the
Jap is dividing up the tillable sea and producing riches.
Japs eat more fish per capita than any nation in the world
and. Instead of depleting the supply they are Increasing
It, while Improving the species.
Family Controls Turtle Trust.
Perhaps the most Interesting of these water ranches
are the turtle farms of the Hattori family the " turtle
trust " of Japan who, having discovered the system of
producing delicious turtles In huge numbers, have secured
a practical monopoly on the trade, and who sell about
BO.OOO ' suppon," or soft shell snapping turtles, each year
In the markets of Osaka, Tokio, and Nagoya nearly
$10,000 woith of turtles each year from their farms.
These ranches are at Fukagawa, a suburb of Toklo,
seven acres; the large farm at Maisaka, pear Hamma
matsu, which has twenty-five acres; and a small farm
near Fukagawa, two acres In extent. Some American
farmers would think themselves fortunate to produce
$10,000 worth of anything on thirty-four acres; but that
It not all, for the Hattorls raise goldfish, eels, and other
The uncle of the present Hattori founded the turtle
trust on the reclaimed land near the mouth of the Sumidl
river, and In 1800 caught a large turtle and founded the
present family of " suppon " as It exists In their pounds
today. In 1808 there were fifteen, and In 18".r they com
menced their experiments In breeding turtles for the mar
ket. The natural supply was not large, and the " suppon "
is esteemed a greater delicacy than the diamond back
terrapin or the English green back. They experimented.
The parents ate up the young. They tried again and
evolved a scientific method.
Building the Turtle Farms.
They laid off their acres Into beds, with sloping rrfud
banks and deep mud at the bottom, with planks sunk into
the earth to prevent burrowing out, and plank fences along
the dikes to keep the turtles from crawling over. Then
they rounded up all the old turtles Into one large pond,
and on the sunniest, warmest side they built up a big bank
and spaded It up.
The female turtles crawled up this warm bank fioin
late In May to early In August, planted their forefeet
firmly in the mud, dug a hole with their hind feet, laid
eighteen to twenty-eight eggs In the hole, covered- them
with warm dirt, and crawled back Into the pond. Kach
evening a workman went over the bank and covered the
new deposit of eggs with a stout wire netting, bo that
other turtles could not dig them up in digging
their own nests and this was continued until they stopped
laying. Then a fence of boards and bamboo was built
along the water's edge to keep the young from crawling
Into the parent pond and being eaten up; and sixty to
ninety days later the young trooped forth and by naturaj
Instinct started for the water.- The fence cut them off,
but at short Intervals were deep pottery basins, and Into
these the young crawled. Kach day the workmen removed
them and placed them In the " one year pond." Each year
the ponds are changed except the parent pond, to which
the old are added a pond for the yearlings, one for the 2
year olds, with the 3, 4, and 5 year olds in the market pond.
This season there are about 80,000 eggs on the sunny
sides of the Hattori parent ponds, which means that over
60,0110 yearlings will hide in the mud and that about the
same number of older ones will be sold.
Each year the number is Increasing, and the demand
with It. Nor is the price going up, for, although the Hat
tori family has a monopoly on turtles, the price remains
between $.1.23 and $:t.7.- a " kwan "and a " kwan " is
about eight and a half pounds.
Breeding Varieties of Goldfish.
Four hundred years ago some traveling Jap brought
goldfish from China and placed them in pools at Sakat,
near Osaka. This fish, it Is said, was the " wakln." Since
then Japan has bred goldfish. In sjreat numbers and in
startling variety. The wakln Is long and slender, much
like the crucian carp; the tall may be single, but should
split open and be either three or four lobed.
The ryukln. or " Loochoo." goldfish Is much shorter
in body and is the most beautiful of the fish. Besides, .
there arc the " ranchu," or " round headed ": the "oranda
shlshlgashlrl," or " Dutch lion headed"; the " shukln," an
exclusive breed of Aklyama, a flsh breeder of Toklo; and
the " deme," a telescope flsh, with eyes protruding side
ways from Its head, and the ' deme-ranchn," perhaps the
queerest nsh in all the world. The eyes have started sky
ward and turned up 00 degrees, the tail or tails sprout In
all direction!:, and the fish has no dorsal fin.
Goldfish eiiture Is carried on all over Japan, but prin
cipally at Tokio, Osaka, and Koriyama, near Nara, where
every family in the town raises goldfish.
The breeding is carefully done by selection, only the
choicest specimens being admitted to the breeding ponds.
The young are fed carefully on the yolks of egs, boiled,
for several days, then on earth worms and boiled cracked,
wheat. The feeding is done by lowering shallow dishes!
Into the -water. Jetting them lower and lower as cold
weather approaches and the fish grow older.
Carp Culture on Huge Scale.
Carp culture Is carried on on a huge scale all over the
kingdom, and the carp ponds adjoin the rice paddles every
where. The people of Unkural Mura, In Shinano, raised
23,000,000 carp In one year for the market in the eastern
provinces, and this In connection with rice culture.
Great care Is taken In the feeding and the flavor of
the carp Is practically made to order, some carp raisers
creating a huge demand for their flsh by the careful
The eel, carp, .and gray mullet are frequently raised
together with the turtles. They are fed abundantly ui
crushed mollusks, flsh worms, and such food. Hattori
has developed eel culture as he has turtle farming, but he
, has no monopoly. The eels are marketed between the
second and third years and yield enormous profit on the
feeding. The feeding scene is wonderful, the entire pond
seeming alive with the squirming eels, tens of thousands
of them tangling Into knots to reach the food. .
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There Is no limit, practically, to the demand for the
cil and the gray mullet, and those who are raising them
c innot produce enough, despite the rapid enlargement
of the establishments.
Oyster farming, though. Is the most extensive of the
marine cultivation. The tide lands around the islands
are divided off Into minute concessions, and each little
garden patch for raising oysters means a good living for
the owner of the concession, who pays rent to the gov
ernment. Sea Fenced Into Oyster Gardens.
When the tide is at Nuidalchl, east of Hiroshima, for
Instance, one looks out across the sea broken by the topa
of bamboo fences, and when the water recedes he views
a wide mud flat, cut up as if Into minute town lots, and
each one Is an oyster garden.
The manner of starting an oyster farm is interesting.
Bamboo poles, with the small branches outstretched, are
planted like fences through the concession, and the tide
bears to It the oyster spat, which settles on these branches
and clinks. These are left there through April, until early
In August, when they are pulled up, care being taken not
to displace the spat, and carried to the toya ground,
where the bamboos are arranged much like corn shocks,
only looser, and the toyaq are left there for one year, when
they must give place to the next lot.
The oysters are knocked off the bamboo collectors and
placed on the living ground, where they lie on the hard,
gravelly bottom and raked hard every fortnight. In the
autumn of the third year they are taken to the market.
The pearl oyster, the ark shell, the razor clam, the
tarnacle, and other mollusks are cultivated scientifically.
Altogether, Japan appears to be leading the world In
being first to realize the Importance of preserving Its mat
rine and fresh water animals, and In improving them by
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