A Local Celebrity

Okaji Shichibei

Okaji Shichibei, a developer who turned the Izumo plain into a big grain belt

In the early Yedo period (1603 - 1867), the Izumo plain did not have fertile soil suitable for agriculture. Okaji Shichibei turned the land into one of the most productive districts in the San-in area (west Japan). In 1670, Shichibei was ordered by a Matsue domain official to plant an erosion control forest along the Araki-hama beach, west of the Izumo plain. He accomplished this big project with a great deal of effort, just before he launched another project to develop the land for irrigation water. He laid a water line from the Hii-gawa River onward, to complete Takase-gawa, the first canal ever constructed in the Matsue domain rule. Furthermore, Shichibei invested his own property to enhance the next project of connecting Kando-gawa River to Lake Jinzai-ko with a new river, Jikken-gawa River. All his efforts changed the former infertile area to a huge rice paddy field.

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