Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Seeking information on Tsudani, Hiroshima 2020/6/2 10:06

I am wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of information (in either Japanese or English) on a location which now is likely within our modern-day Kake/Akiota part of Hiroshima. The specific place was romanized as "Tsudani," or sometimes "Tsudani-mura," Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima in the 1800's. I can only find evidence of its existence in a few rare English-written pamphlets on Google Books, where "Tsudani-mura" is listed as part of the "Kake" area of Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima. Japanese Wikipedia also has a list of previous towns within Yamagata-gun, but the closest in name I can find is "Tsunami-mura."

If possible, I would really like to pinpoint where exactly this location was in the past. I realize it's a difficult and odd request, but any information whatsoever, even an old map, would be really helpful and I would feel so thankful!

by CuriousQuest (guest)  

Re: Seeking information on Tsudani, Hiroshima 2020/6/2 10:58
Have you tried contacting the local city hall or local library? When I was doing research of lost family from circa 1900, the local library turned out to be very helpful. After a very late reply to my Japanese email, the librarian clearly told me that one of the jobs of the library is to help people research local history, and I got to visit the library where the librarian spent time showing me various books I may be interested in. I'm sure it may depend on the library, but it's worth a try.

By the way, are you sure "Tsudani" is the correct name? I've noticed that a lot of official documents, either in Japan or overseas, have gotten names incorrectly.

by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Seeking information on Tsudani, Hiroshima 2020/6/2 11:57
Hi Uco,

Thank you for the wonderful suggestion! I never would have thought to consult the city library.
The reason I'm so curious is indeed due to interests of lineage. My husband is Japanese-American, and just recently came across documents from his great grandparents (marriage documents and immigration documents to America and the like, all in English and Romaji unfortunately) which all have "Tsudani, Hiroshima" written as place of birth. The thought crossed our minds that the romanization of the place could have been a bit off, though they did consistently write "Tsudani," even when writing the place themselves (as opposed to the immigration documents, which were possibly written by someone else).

We were pleasantly surprised by this, as we actually live in northern Hiroshima! However, neither of us speak Japanese very well yet, and we don't want to be a bother to library staff or city hall or to seem nosey (we don't have a koseki with us or anything, and we also aren't sure if we would be comfortable trying to trace lineage in person with the intention of "finding" anyone-- that seems it could be a touch invasive). When I wrote that Japanese or English information would be all right, I should have specified that I would be using Google Translate on websites for the most part. If we did decide to try to track down more of the family lineage, we would ask my husband's uncle to mail us the Japanese documents that he has (I'm not sure what exactly they are), but as of now we are a little shy to bother him with that.

Our main interest is, with it being so close to where we currently live, we thought we might take a drive over to see what the area was like. While we are curious to know all we can about his family's past, we just aren't sure if it would seem prying or nosey to "dig" further than doing a drive to the area for fun. We're kind of shy people, so even if we had the Japanese documents in hand from his uncle, we might hesitate in rushing to city hall with them.

Thank you so much for the information, Uco!

by CuriousQuest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Seeking information on Tsudani, Hiroshima 2020/6/2 23:55

Perhaps your grandparents wrote it incorrectly. I say this because, back then, people seemed to be more sloppy about writing. For the name of a relative of mine, two versions of kanji appear: One on the kakeizu (official family tree document) and another on his grave stone. Similar things can easily happen for romaji.

In any case, I know exactly how you feel. Some (anonymous) people on the internet suggest that lineage research annoys public servants, but that has not at all been the case for me. When I saw on NHK "Family History" that they used one of those American on-line family tree websites to track actor Tadanobu Asano's American grandfather, I figured I can do the same, because an ancestor of mine had traveled to the U.S. in the early 20th C. Among many facts that I found, I realized I needed to track a nice woman who had lived in 19th C Yamanashi-ken, and who once belonged to my ancestor's family. However, I have no blood ties with her, and the town hall in Yamanashi had to turn me down.

And that's when I emailed the town library (because there seemed to be no museums for local history), which then suggested I contact the local temple to see if they know of a grave. Although I couldn't really track the woman, both the priest of the temple and librarian were too nice and helpful, and we had a great chat when we finally visited the town. I've done something similar in Yokohama where I live, and the person at our city hall was helpful as well.

The thing is, people seem to get very excited about other people's lineage research. You find history, trivia and even something dramatic (like people traveling on a ship all the way to another country!). Both the library and priest did tell me that they get inquiries concerning lineage research, so it's nothing uncommon either.

So it's worth a try once the covid crisis is settled. And I do encourage you to find an interpreter who can accompany you. You should hire a grad student or something so that you could get all the historical terms right. And in fact, it helps if you could have proper postal letters translated to Japanese, because some establishments (like temples) don't provide email addresses.

Meanwhile, just for entertainment, try Googling "Yokosuka 1953" which is a project about a woman searching her lost mother. It's sad, heart-warming and encouraging all at the same time.

Enjoy your search.
by Uco rate this post as useful

reply to this thread