Japan Forestry and Fishing
Forestry. – The considerable extension of the country and the presence of high mountain ranges, with the influence they exert on the climate and soil of the various parts of the Empire, account for the great variety of the Japanese forest flora, which, in the abundant rains and in the climate, generally temperate, finds very favorable conditions for a luxuriant development. Despite the enormous quantity of wood that the country needs, to build houses, as we have said, for common works and to make coal, the Japanese forest heritage remains very large, thanks to the provident measures of the government, which he takes care that the cleared areas are re-planted, if necessary at his own expense, in order to ensure the future supplies.
In Japan alone, forests occupy 48% of the surface; including the other parts of the Empire, this figure is 65%, which is quite high if you consider that in Sweden, one of the richest countries in the world and the richest in Europe, there is only 59%. Among the botanical species making up the Japanese forest flora, the first place, for variety and quantity, belongs to conifers, and among these to sugi (Cryptomeria japonica), hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa), sawara (Chamaecyparis pisifera S. et Z.), al hiba (Thujopsis dolabrata S. et Z.), al tsuga (Tsuga Sieboldi Carr), al momi (Abies signature S. et Z.), without counting the pines, widely represented, especially in the north, by infinite varieties. Of the broad-leaved trees we should mention the keyaki (Obelicea serrata Makino), the buna (Fagus sylvetica, var. Sieb.), The katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), the kiri (Paulownia imperialis), the shioji (Acanthoponax ricinifolium); the varieties of the genera Ficus and Quercus are also abundant, among which the kashiwa is widespread(Quercus dentata) and the nara (Quercus glandulifera). In the south of Hondo and in the islands of Kyūshū and Shikoku, the genus Cinnamomum already appears, with its most important representative, camphor (kusu – no – ki), and individuals belonging to the subtropical flora, such as the kashi (Quercus acuta), the kunugi (Quercus serrata), shii (Pasania cuspidata), konara (Quercus). In the southern Ryū-kyū, in Formosa and in the Bonin the flora has a tropical character: there abound the ak ō (Ficus Wightiana), the takonoki (Pandanus odoratissimus L.) etc. and the camphor trees and giant bamboos, growing luxuriantly, reach their maximum development.
The most important forests in Japan are those of Yoshino (Nara) and Tenryū (Shizuoka), famous for their magnificent examples of sugi and hinoki ; of Kiso (Nagano) renowned for the hiba, the sawara, the nezuko (Thuja japonica Maxim), the k ō yamaki (Cidopytis verticillata S. et Z.) and the hinoki. Beautiful sugi forests are also found in the Akita province.
Among the forest products, kiri wood is particularly appreciated because, due to its compactness, it hardly allows water to penetrate, making it valuable for many special uses. The same can be said of that of camphor, whose particular smell keeps away the insects, so destructive and harmful in Japan. Giant bamboos are widely used for making buckets and tubs. Camphor occupies a separate place, the Japanese production of which alone is enough to meet a large part of the world’s needs. In 1925, the total production of timber from Japanese forests was 7,733,567 cubic meters. for a value of about 126 million yen, in which figures the conifers alone appear with 6,349,719 cubic meters. and over 110 million yen.
Fishing. – Favored by the considerable coastal development of the country (29,000 km. Without Korea and Sakhalin), fishing has always been one of the major activities of the residents of the archipelago. For the most part it is exercised on the extensions of the sea located around the coasts and having a depth generally less than 200 m; for the rest, to a much lesser extent, it takes place on the high seas.
In 1924, in Japan alone, 1,411,504 individuals were fishing, mostly in the provinces of Nagasaki, Yamaguchi, Shizuoka and the island of Yezo, on 361,239 boats, 3% of which were mechanically propelled. The value of production in the same year was about 255 million yen.
According to Nexticle, the sea currents, hot and cold, that lap the coasts of the country have a great influence on the fishery products, since the diversity of water temperature brings with it that of the marine fauna. Fishing in cold waters (Pacific) especially gives: herring (nishin), salmon (sake), cod (tara), whale (kujira), kelp (konbu, edible seaweed species), oysters (khaki). Fishing in warm waters gives instead: saba (cod species), sawara (Cybium niphonium), bonito (hatsuwo), buri (Seriola quinqueradiata), sardine (iwashi), tai (Pacrus cardinalis), sole (karei), aji (Trachurus trachurus), awabi (variety of Haliotis), cuttlefish, tako (variety of Octopus), coral, nori (a species of edible seaweed), oysters, sanma (Scombresox saira), etc.
The fishing in lakes, also very active, especially gives the eel, trout, carp, l ‘ ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis).
Fish, next to rice, is the basis of the diet. The way to process or package some fish is curious, such as bonito which, dried, goes on the market under the name of katsuwobushi, a condiment highly appreciated in indigenous cuisine, like konbu, noriand surume, a product obtained by drying the sepia down to the thinness of a sheet of paper. Some fish, such as maguro, buri and karei, are eaten raw, seasoned with sh ō yu. The whale is also eaten, and processed to extract fat and oil.
The export of fishery products is very substantial. At the forefront are canned crab and salmon; sardines and herring, of which the Japanese are very fond, are harvested in quantities so much greater than consumption and export, that they are used to extract their oil; the residues of the extraction are then used as fertilizer.
Coral, especially sent to Italy, and pearls also contribute to the export. Fishing for these was once very active in Ōmura Bay, near Nagasaki; today, however, the cultured pearls industry has grown enormously, also known as Mikimoto pearls from the name of the main producer, mostly produced in the famous nurseries of Toba (Mie province). For salt, production centers are the coasts of the Inland Sea, where the refining system by artificial heating is also widespread.
In Japan there are 535 fishing ports, of which 88 in the Nagasaki province alone.