SOKENDAI Review of Cultural and Social Studies


vol.18 (2022)

Transition of Goldfish Aquaculture Techniques:

Focus on Yamato-Koriyama City, Nara Prefecture


Department of Regional Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

Key words:

goldfish aquaculture, Yamato-Koriyama, techniques, urbanization, modernization, change in varieties for farming

Studies on aquaculture have not been conducted frequently in the field of folklore in comparison to fishing. This paper reports on the transition of aquaculture techniques from the Meiji era to the present, focusing on goldfish aquaculture in Yamato-Koriyama City, Nara Prefecture, one of the leading goldfish farming areas of Japan. In Yamato-Koriyama, the business is mainly mass production of a goldfish breed called wakin using irrigation ponds. This study compares the differences between past and current techniques based on written materials and information obtained from interviews with local elders and clarifies the details of technical changes and their causes.

This paper focuses on spawning grass, the procurance of initial feed, goldfish raising, and transportation methods. First, increased river improvement during the period of high economic growth made it difficult to collect willow root, which is the material used for spawning grass. Willow root was replaced by a fern plant called Hikagenokazura, which grows naturally in the surrounding mountains. Next, the initial feed for goldfish was provided by capturing Daphnia pulex, which lives in irrigation ponds, using a scooping method called Akako-sukui. In recent years, sorting work by women called Yoriko is no longer available in local goldfish farming. Finally, the transportation method has changed from using stacking tubs called kasane-oke to water and oxygen-filled plastic bags.

There are three major external factors relating to these changes. The first factor is the urbanization of Yamato-Koriyama, which caused environmental changes resulting in the replacement of the material used for spawning grass from willow root to Hikagenokazura. The second factor is modernization, which facilitated the development of technology and transformed the means of goldfish transportation. The third factor is cost reduction due to changes in farmed goldfish varieties, which caused Akako-sukui and sorting work to disappear. In this way, this study has discovered that the techniques used in goldfish farming in Yamato-Koriyama have changed over time due to various factors.