Home Community JAPAN CORNER: Whirlpool Mystery Resolved

JAPAN CORNER: Whirlpool Mystery Resolved

By David YamaguchiThe North American Post

As Japan tourismreopens, we must take advantage of opportunities to increase our under-standin g of the country of our roots. In this way, we might travel there as more knowledgeable Kunta Kintes.

Utagawa Hiroshige Awa Naruto no fuha Wind and waves at Naruto Awa Province 1855

One such opening arose f o r m e i n assembling this issue. In laying in the map on page 10, I became curious as to how the current flows through the narrow strait at the east end of Japan’s Inland Sea, only 1.3 km (0.81 miles) wide. The closest nearby community, in fine print on the map, is Naruto.

In Googling “Naruto,” the famous woodblock above comes up, resolving its provenance, which I had wondered about. There, a difference in water levels of as much as 4 feet, 11 inches must equalize at tide changes, four times daily. It still creates whirlpools today.

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David Yamaguchi has written for the NAP since 2006, at first as a volunteer, then as a paid freelancer (2016-2020),then as a staff writer/editor (2020-2023). He is presently executive director of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington (JASSW).