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Hakata Culture vol.15


Fukuoka City’s First Swimming Beaches

Fukuoka City’s First Swimming Beaches picture

All of us enjoy sea bathing with friends and family during Summer vacations. The best beaches for swimming in Fukuoka that come to mind are Nokonoshima, Ikinomatsubara, and Obaru in Nishi Ward, and Shikanoshima and Katsuma in Higashi Ward.

When did beach swimming become a popular recreation? The practice is said to have originated in Great Britain in the 18th century when a doctor established a seaside resort as a method for treating illness. In Japan, the records show that sites for sea bathing were created for medical treatment in Okayama Prefecture and Suma in Hyogo Prefecture.

According to the Fukuoka Nichi Nichi Shimbun, the forerunner of today’s Nishinippon Shimbun, the first site for sea bathing in Fukuoka City was opened in what is now Sawara Ward. Tennis courts, a sumo ring, and a ring toss are were set up on the beach next to the Matsubara pine forest, and floating tubs, rafts, and a lifesaving boat were placed offshore. In short, it took about 30 years for sea bathing to change from a form of medical treatment to a recreational activity. The newspaper conducted a campaign over several days to explain the effectiveness of sea bathing and encourage women to give it a try.

Incidentally, that first site for sea bathing in Fukuoka City’s Sawara Ward was in Nishijin-machi, the birthplace of the Sazae-san cartoon. Machiko Hasegawa, who created the comic, was evacuated there from Tokyo. The local Yukan Fukunichi newspaper was the first to run her four-panel comic strip when she lived in that district.

The story goes that she would often think about the characters who appeared in her strip while walking along the beach at Momochi near her house in Nishijin. The seashore in those days was beautiful, with green pines and white sand. Praise of that scenery was included in the lyrics of the Momochi Junior High School song, which was composed in 1948.

Nothing makes me happier to know that the members of Sazae-san’s famous family that everyone in Japan knows--Isono Namihei, Fune, Sazae, Katsuo, Wakame, and Masuo-were created at the Momochi seashore in Nishijin-machi, Sawara Ward, here in Fukuoka City.


 A public relations manager
 Kimiyo Sasaki



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福岡市最初の海水浴場って...

 夏休みになると友人、家族で楽しむのが海水浴。福岡だと思い浮かぶ海水浴場は、西区なら能古島、生の松原、大原(おおばる)など、東区は志賀島、勝馬あたりでしょうか。さて、この海水浴というもの、いつ頃から始まったレクリエーションなのでしょうか。

 もともとは、18世紀頃のイギリスで海水療法を行うために医師が作った海浜保養地が始まりだといわれます。日本ではどうでしょう。記録によると、19世紀終わり頃の1880年頃から、岡山県や兵庫県の須磨海岸などに次々と医療目的の海水浴場が設置されたそうです。

 では、福岡市の場合は?福岡日日新聞(西日本新聞の前身)によると、20世紀の初め、1918年である大正7年、福岡日日新聞が早良郡西新町(現在の早良区)に初めて海水浴場を主催したとあります。松原続きの浜にはテニスコート、相撲場、輪投げなどを設置し、沖にタライやイカダ、救護船まで浮かべています。つまり、30年ほどの間に医療目的からレクリエーションの場に海水浴場が変化していったのです。しかし、新聞紙面では連日、海水浴の効用を説明し、「婦人も海へ」というキャンペーンを行っていたと書かれています。

 ところで、福岡市初の海水浴場である西新町、漫画「サザエさん」が生まれた場所でもあるのです。原作者の長谷川町子さんが、戦争中に東京から疎開して西新町に住んでいた頃、福岡の地元新聞「夕刊フクニチ」で4コマ漫画「サザエさん」の連載をしていました。西新の家からすぐの百道の浜辺を歩きながら登場人物の構想を描いていたといわれます。当時の百道海岸は白砂青松の美しい浜辺だったようで、その様子は昭和23年に作られた百道中学校の校歌に歌われているとか。

 磯野波平、フネ、サザエ、カツオ、ワカメ、マスオ…誰もが知っている日本で最も有名な家族が、この福岡市早良区西新町の百道海岸から生まれたなんて、嬉しいかぎりですよね。


   福岡市広報課長 佐々木 喜美代