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History of the islands

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History of the islands

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Our Mother the Sea – sometimes gently smiling, sometimes harshly frowning.
Mysterious deep forest.
Trees gigantic enough for deities to reside in.
Encompassed by the azure Japan Sea, the Okinoshima Islands are alive with human warmth nurtured by rich natural surroundings.
An elegant aristocratic culture created by large numbers of exiles.
A broad diversity of cultural elements were transported here with the busy traffic of the kitamaebune Japan Sea cargo ships that reached their peak during the Edo Era.
In the course of long, distant years of history, these elements fused into the islands' ethos, fostering unique traditions and culture.
Though people's ways of living change with the march of the ages, here there remains an island spirit unchanged from olden times.
The islands will go on being an irreplaceably precious spiritual home for those who live in them, those who have left them, and those who visit them.
Mt. Daimanjisan, the highest peak on Dogo Island, was used as a landmark by ships sailing the Japan Sea in former times. Around this mountain, clumps of Oki Rhododendron and Oki Orchids in their natural habitat can still be found today.
Festivals held in the islands include Renge-e Dancing, Gore-e Furyu, Muramatsuri Furyu and Bull Sumo, all embodying traditions from the far distant past, and each harboring a particular spirit. These traditions are being handed on to the next generation.
 

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White isles that impress with their gently beautiful lines, sheer cliffs that tower virilely up. Our town of Okinoshima-cho is located on Dogo Island encompassed all around by the Japan Sea, and has lived together with the sea all through a history reaching to far distant times.
These isolated islands have preserved their natural features by virtue of their remoteness. And as a place of exile and a port of call for the kitamaebune cargo ships, they have been accepting of things and people from across the sea, resulting in a history and culture that are unique to these outlying islands.
We have inherited the natural blessings that the sea and mountains bring, and the ways of life built by our ancestors.
Amid the confusion of the final Tokugawa years, there occurred the Oki Rebellion, which chased out the governor appointed by the Matsue feudal domain and sought to establish an autonomous government in Oki.
Desiring to "watch over their own affairs for themselves" and "achieve their own aspirations by themselves", the island people set up their own self-government bodies. Through these they had autonomy under their own independent government – but only for the brief period of 81 days.
On October 1, 2004, as part of the decentralization that was proceeding at that time, three villages and one town – the former villages of Fuse, Tsuma and Goka, and the former town of Saigo – were merged to create the present Okinoshima-cho, on the basis of shared nature and history. As Okinoshima-cho, the islands have embarked on a vigorous new chapter in their history.
 

Changing with the flow of time...

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