" History and Current Situation of
Irrigation Channels of Toyoda Horinouchi"
Minoru Ito (Director, Toyoda Horinouchi Water Association)
I started farming in the 33rd year of Showa (1958). Nanao-mura (village)
and Hino-shi (city) were merged in that year. The number of farm houses
was about 1000; paddy field areas were 390 chobu (1chobu=9917m2), and
field areas were 500 chobu. In 1963, city system was established in
Hino. The population at that time was about 50,000. Around that time,
Japanese economy was rapidly improved and income-doubling plan was
introduced by Ikeda cabinet. The gap in income levels between agriculture
and other industries was gradually widened.
Also, agriculture standard act was implemented, aiming to respond
to the requirements of new era. The core of the law was structure improvement
of farmland (crop field rearrangement), and expansion of livestock
raising, fruit trees, or vegetable fields, in order to establish large-scaled
agriculture which would be up with Western countries. However, the
urbanization generated "myth of ever-higher land prices" as
a fallout; contrary to the ideal of the law, departures of farmers
from agriculture were accelerated, and disorderly urban sprawl generated
vermiculated areas in suburban areas. In order to stop the sprawl,
urban planning was revaluated and modified, resulting to enforce New
Urban Planning Law in the middle of 40th of Showa. The law distinguished
the farmlands to be developed for urban infrastructure (urbanization
areas) and those to be conserved as productive green areas (urbanization
restriction areas). However, the law pushed aside agriculture in the
urban areas. As American Indians always playing roles of menaces against
pioneers in cowboy pictures, we were considered to be similar nuisance,
though we have lived in our lands generation after generation, working
the earth. In the high economic growth era in the 50's of Showa, since
urban infrastructure improvement became one of the core policies of
administration, and land rearrangement was actively promoted, farmlands
have continued to decrease until today.
There are six water associations. Irrigation channel of Toyoda Horinouchi
draw water from Asakawa. It is assumed that there had been settlements
in this area already in the Kamakura Period. By the fall of Takeda
family at the end of the age of civil wars (the Muromachi Era), many
samurais fled from Kainokuni to Musashinokuni (Bushu) moved to Hachioji
and Hino. Ichinose family who is my relative, is the subordinate warriors
of Takeda family, and moved to Toyoda 450 ago. At present, they live
near Toyoda Horinouchi irrigation moat. It can be assumed that the
ancestors of Shingen Takeda were involved in the construction of the
moats because Ueda irrigation channel were built utilizing Shingen-tsutsumi
Now we will see the water maintenance and control by Toyoda Horinouchi
water association. In prewar days, historical records show that land
owners managed irrigation ditches and decided water intake. The decline
of land owners caused by the farmland reform, triggered the establishment
of water association. It was the place for deciding various topics
on water; e.g., cleaning of ditches in spring, cutting of waterweed
in summer, way of intake to water channel from Asakawa, etc. Currently,
green and clean water department of the city takes charge of the intake
from Asakawa. Gravels in the river are piled up by private consignment.
Ancestral irrigation waters conserved by rice farmers are in critical
situation, because the maintenance and control of water could no longer
be attained only by farmers.
When I was a child, fireflies can commonly seen around irrigation
ditches. Leuciscus hakonensis (ugui), crucian, catfish, kibachi, Cottus
pollux (kajika), and Ophicephalus maculates (raigyo) were found in
Asakawa; in a stream diverted from the ditch, shellfish of Corbiculidae,
salamandrid amphibian, and various insects lived. Diversion of water
is mainly for irrigation, and irrigation channel has been considered
as a sacred place, where some of inhabitants cleaned pans and sickles.
Children who tried to piss toward the channel got scorched by grownups.
Locusts and red dragonflies which were precious sources of calcium
and protein, disappeared because of Parathion, an insecticide used
after the war. The urbanization in the 30's of Showa, advanced the
construction of houses in Hino as a commuter belt. At the same time
irrigation ditch which had been used for irrigation water for paddy
fields was gradually polluted by domestic wastewaters. Furthermore,
waste liquid from factories polluted the Tamagawa and Asakawa. Around
the 50th year of Showa, the cadmium concentration of irrigation ditch
in Hino exceeded standard level, and farmers needed to grow different
crops. Rice farmers had to eat delivered rice by the administrative
advice. Paddy fields are now replaced by houses. It's a shame that
environmental destruction has made our spiritual and cultural legacies
fall into oblivion. The old waterfront had rich and varied cultural
worlds with dreams and romances, represented by children's songs, such
as spring brooks, songs of fireflies, flogs, and dragonflies, etc.
*For further details, refer to the research report of 2006, "Water
Town, Hino--For Renovation of Irrigation Channels".
" History of Watermills in Hino"
Sadako Ueno (Deputy Director, Hino no Komonjyo wo Yomu Kai)
Watermills in Hino were often described in Kawano Nikki (diary) (from
the 2nd year of Keio (1866) to the 45th year of Meiji (1912). I read
various diaries including the ones by Keisai Irako and Tamizo Tachikawa,
ancient texts, and other documents on watermills in Tokyo Metropolitan
Archives. Furthermore, I often put down what I heard and I really got
interested in watermills in Hino. History of watermills somewhat suggests
history of Hino. At the end of Edo Era, watermills built on irrigation
channel of Hino were used for grain cleaning of rice and oats.
Amano Watermill built in 1937, was unique because it was set on a narrow
waterway (mawashi-bori) cut from the irrigation channel with difference
of height, and water flew through a house. Water volume can be controlled
at the intake, enabling to draw only the amount needed to drive the watermill. People
usually lived in a private watermill; however rich inhabitants sometimes
employ a residential staff. A shared watermill was 2x3 Ken (1ken=about
1.8m), with 4 to 6 rice motors and the mill wheel set outside rarely
had millstones. People set rice in turn in the morning, and sometimes
stayed at the watermill overnight when graining was not finished because
of lack of water. In the Meiji Era, watermills were built in almost every
village. Shared watermills were sometimes owned by a half stock; two
people used it in turn. They could sell or buy the stock. The family
who operated such watermill had often the family name, "Kuruma".
Because the watermill machine was expensive, rich village officers usually
manage the watermills and grained for neighborhood charging the rate.
The application for a watermill was submit to a local governor within
a territory of government of Edo. Building a watermill was difficult
because it was required to obtain the approval from Nanushi and villages
which had water right, and land owners of surrounding fields. Furthermore,
payment to the government was also required. Watermills were built at
the east end of Hinojuku, where houses were not found. They grained rice
free for neighborhood as a compensation for the resulting noise.
In private watermills, people bought rice from neighborhood and milled
to sell to a neighbor town, Hachioji, where demands for rice increased
as the growth of population occurred along with the boom of silk industry
since the Meiji Era.
An indoor water wheel of 3.4m diameter was driven in the Kaneda watermill
(No.17), with 30 rice motors milled rice. Ancient texts show that three
watermills existed in Nishi-Hirayama of the Edo Era. Also, large-scaled
watermills were lined through No.16 to 22 along the Watermill Street
where horse carts and carts came and went carrying rice for mill and
milled rice. This area still retains the townscape at the time with old
houses and narrow streets.
The watermills for twisting thread existed in Hirayama and Takahata.
Hachioji had more watermills than in Hino, most of which were for fabrics
with smaller water wheels about 1.0m diameter.
From the end of Meiji to Taisho Periods, the number of watermills reached
maximum. It was decreased from the 8th year of Taisho (1919), when electricity
was introduced to Hino.
No.55 and 56 were recently restored watermills. Hino now emphasizes
on waterfront restoration along with watermills. The watermill of Mukojima
irrigation channel (No.55) was built in 1996, and watermill in Suishabori
(watermill ditch) Park in Shinmachi (No.56) was built in 2003.
*For further details, refer to the research report of 2006, "Water
Town, Hino−For Renovation of Water Channels".
Channels in Hino and Locations of Watermills]
of Watermills in Hino]