- First meet with“Yugao-maru”(Ship between Nagasaki City and Hashima)
I joined The Mitsubishi Coal Mine in 1958 1st April. I went to Takashima mine after finished the coal miner training in company from Tokyo. When I woke up on train, it was already arrived to Kyushu Nagasaki.
I went to Kosone street (one of the coal mine company in Nagasaki) to take the ship to Takashima because is far away from Nagasaki City.
Kosone is surrounded by famous history place in Nagasaki like, Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard Dock or Glover Garden. So that was the place I meet “Yugao-maru”. It was an old style with few long chimneys cargo ship. I was shocked by how old-fashion of the ship. (Maybe it will make you understand if I have a photo about it.)
I think the style of “Yugao-maru” looks like the big cargo ship more then a passenger ship. Although I saw some guest room nearby the control room, looks like it is not very comfortable. I started my journey to Takashima (Hashima) with the loud ship whistle and black smoke from the chimney.
I saw Koyaki, Nomozaki and Ioshima when went near the open sea. The sea wave was very smooth but the ship was little shacked. I arrived to Takashima after 50 minutes. I felt fast even I took 50 minutes because I was focus into the amazing view of East China Sea. I felt a affinity with“Yugao-maru”when I arrived and I said ：「Thanks for taking care of me and look forward to working with you.」in my heart.
- Upbringing and working of Yugao-maru
I was shocked when I knew about the history of Yugao-maru. It was the first iron ship in Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard in 1887 February.
Yugao-maru started servicing in May 1887 and it was a cargo ship for coal and became passenger ship between Nagasaki City and Takashima in 1931.
It means Yugao-maru serviced over 70 years! As I know, it was a 200 tons ship, maximum load were 500 passengers and speed was 9 knots per hour.
I was wondered about maybe the high technology from Meiji still working? Although the maintaining fee may over budget then other new ship. (Lifespan of Normal passenger ships around 50 years as I know.) Yugao-maru must have some reasons that can keep long.
As I can see how Yugao-maru was important to the resident and loved by them too.There was a proverb in Japan“difficult to replace with other ship”that exactly means the situation of it.
Yugao-maru was always full of passengers and run slowly. It slows the good old time about Japan. Most of residents who want to leave Takashima, the always take Yugao-maru.
I remember that there were other cargo ships between Yugao-maru’s schedule. They enjoyed the trip on Yugao-maru when they come back from Nagasaki because they must have seat on it. They also feel comfortable and fall in sleep on Yugao-maru while the way back and get surprise by it already arrived to Takashima so soon.
Sure I got on Yugao-maru before and I still remember that I took Yugao-maru to Nagasaki for a day trip and I come back Takashima in drunk next day. Those were all great memory when I still single.
The Whistle of Yugao-maru made me feel so peaceful and clam every morning because I was lived in a apartment on a small hill in Takashima before I married. So every time when I go on Yugao-maru, I felt so clam like I was already home.
My friends always laugh at me and said“You made a really loud snore!”
I married in 1961 and had a wedding my hometown Kokura. I brought back my wife to Takashima after we had a honeymoon. She also remember that there were a Mitsubishi mark on long chimneys and good view on Yugao-maru. I think she loved Yugao-maru too.
- Goodbye to Yugao-maru
Yugao-maru retired after half year I married. At last we all said goodbye together around Takashima to the ship it serviced us over 75 years.
Also other ships of Mitsubishi were retire too and the new ship from Nomozaki “Tsuya-maru”and “Sei-maru”took over the passenger ship between Hashima and Nagasaki City.(Both of it were little old-fashion and had a good speed.)
Yugao-maru serviced us over 75 years but it supposed to only 50 years and it really try it best. Although I just knew about Yugao-maru around 4 years, I still miss my good memory about it.
- Days after I left Hashima
I quit my job on Hashima in 1970 and changed my job to the maintenance of the air conditioner.
I changed to a new job in 1972 at Kyusyu Electric power No.1 nuclear plant. I worked in nuclear power plant about the maintenance of the air conditioner around the reactor in the plant.
I was not used to the new job yet and lots of new knowledge to learn. I remember that I worked hard about making air conditioner pipe. Luckily, my leader was a chief engineer of Yugao-maru and he took care about me a lot because I came from Takashma too.
I though it is Yugao-maru to make me connecting to lot of people. I am still being grateful now. My leader left Hashima and went to Kobe in 1958 when I was working on Takashima.
My leader recommended about me to the company boss and also was my drinking friend, We used to go to bar and talk about old memory of Yugao-maru.
My first new career was smooth because of my leader. So I toke full power of my engine and finally climb to the top level.
I still thankful about Yugao-maru brought me luck.
Before I change to the new job, I lived in Fukuoka and studied about the qualification about engineer of air conditioner. One day my wife said “look at the TV,Yugao-maru is right there!”.
I watched the TV and I saw a western movie scene about crew having a farewell with their ship.
My wife must think back about Yugao-maru when she saw that scene and missing about it. Also, she passed away last year after my mother and one more person who know about Yugao-maru was gone.
My mother passed away in 2017 by 105 years old. Her doctor was surprised by her still healthy that even can play poker,
When the moment my mother gone, I really want to thank her about being so long with me and lived until 105 years old! Also I think back about Yugao-maru was a long live ship too!
Sorry for talking about other topic. Right no, I am living nearby Nishiakashi bullet train station. Let’s cheers to the convenience about the traffic to my home!
I am really thankful to God. Buddha and Yugao-maru!
Mitsubishi Takashima mining
Former coal miner 松浦邦雄