People who walked with a “commuter ship” in the history of more than 130 years Nagasaki Oct. 30 16:32

Nagasaki, a port town where ships crossed the bay when land was still inconvenient. The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard, which has supported the development of the city, has been operating a special “commuter ship” that only employees and workers can ride on since its founding in Meiji 17th.
However, shipbuilding orders were sluggish due to intensifying competition with overseas. As the number of passengers decreased, the commuter ship was finally abolished at the end of September, and the history of over 130 years ended. I looked at the people who walked with the commuter boat.
(Nagasaki Broadcasting Station reporter Mirei Yasui)

Nagasaki, the world's leading shipbuilding town

The birth of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard dates back more than 130 years.
Mitsubishi Taro Iwasaki, the founder of Mitsubishi, borrowed the government's “Nagasaki Shipbuilding Bureau” and entered the shipbuilding business in earnest. Three years later, in 1908, we will receive a reduction of the renamed “Nagasaki Shipyard”.
During World War II, the largest Japanese naval battleship “Musashi” was built. After the war, we put emphasis on large-scale shipbuilding such as tankers and boasted the world's largest launch for 12 consecutive years since 1965.

"If you throw a stone, you will hit Mitsubishi."

At the peak of 1974, the number of employees at the Nagasaki Shipyard reached approximately 17,000. This is more than three times the current level. In the town of Nagasaki, it was said that "If you throw a stone, you will hit Mitsubishi."

Commuter ships connected the Nagasaki city center and other main factories on the other side of the bank, and the Kayaki factory in the southern part of the Showa 40s made the southern route.

Commuter boats traveling in and out of the bay and employees getting on and off in groups. It was a scene that symbolizes Nagasaki when the daring sirens of the factory that announced the start of work rang through the town early in the morning.

Commuter ships are part of the welfare program

Mr. Sumito Sato (70) joined Nagasaki Shipyard as a welder after graduating from junior high school in 1964, and continued to go to the factory on a commuter ship for 45 years until retirement.

Mr. Sato, who was not good at getting up early. It is said that there were many people who hopped on a commuter ship with a "running boarding" that was not a "running boarding", although it was adored by the sailors.
However, once you get on the boat, there is no traffic jam or waiting for traffic lights.
If you take a break while watching the quiet sea in the bay on the deck, you will arrive at the factory.
From the center of Nagasaki city to the Koyaki factory, it took 50 minutes by bus, but it took only 20 minutes, which helped shorten the commuting time. Moreover, the fare is free.
As part of the benefits of “Large companies”, we look back on how we were very blessed.

The vibrancy of the town is with commuter ships

In the era of high economic growth, the city of Nagasaki was energized to match the development of shipyards.
Not only was it in the downtown area of ​​Nagasaki, but the bustling area was full of bustle.

There are many liquor stores near the dock. Many of them had standing and drinking space “square-shaped”. It is said that everywhere was full of shipyard workers.

“One cup of liquor with a bonito”

“It feels a little dirty. There is a knob on the side. I drink one cup of kamaboko.” (Sato Sumito)

In the back of the liquor store near the dock, where Mr. Sato stopped by on his way home from work, there is still a square corner.
Inside the counter, you can find Nagasaki's specialty kamaboko and pork soup with sake made by Okami. Using it as a pinch, Kakuuchi where you can enjoy local shochu at a reasonable price was a relaxing place for Mr. Sato.

"Drink and drink"

The owner, Hidenori Matsuo (61), said that he had been helping the store when it was time for his return commuter ship to arrive.

“One day on the way home is no longer a daily routine. The back behind the store was cool.”

We recall that 90% of the customers were occupied by Nagasaki Shipyard workers at that time.
If Mr. Matsuo tells me, the customer's worker is "Drink and drink".
Matsuo first confirmed his face through the window before the worker arrived at the store.
Prepare and wait for the liquor you always like.
As soon as the worker arrives at the store, he takes out cash and drinks the liquor. And when I thought I received the change, it was a fashion to leave the store behind with the kamaboko of the knob.

Reduced passengers due to sluggish orders.

However, in recent years, orders for shipbuilding have been sluggish due to intensifying competition from overseas. As for LNG = liquefied natural gas carrier, which Nagasaki Shipyard has positioned as the mainstay, new orders have been taken away by Korea and other countries, and the remaining orders are finally reduced to zero. The competitive environment is becoming increasingly severe.
The sluggish orders led to a relocation of workers and, consequently, a decrease in the number of commuter boat users, and commuter ships were forced to reduce their routes.

As a result, only a few liquor stores with horns that were scattered around the docks left.

The key to revitalization is the cruise market

It is impossible to extinguish the fire of shipbuilding, which is also the “industry” of MHI.
In August, however, a new meeting was set up with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the prefecture, Nagasaki City, and the local business community to find a solution to the situation.

What I noticed was the number of cruise ship calls that were the highest ever, due to the increase in foreign tourists.

Last year, the number of port calls was 2930 times throughout Japan, doubling in 3 years. Looking at the ports with the highest number of calls, Hakata Port (279 times) is first, Naha Port (243 times) is second, and Nagasaki Port (220 times) is third.
In addition, Sasebo Port is ranked 8th (108 times), and 7 of the top 10 are occupied by ports in Kyushu and Okinawa.

In addition, at Nagasaki Port, in anticipation of a further increase in the number of port calls, the government's budget for this fiscal year was recorded for the first time as a survey for “two berths” where two cruise ships could be anchored simultaneously.

Under these circumstances, the aim is to repair Asian cruise ships.
According to MHI, Singapore is currently the only repair base for cruise ships in Asia. With China's cruise market expanding rapidly as the economy grows, for example, if you are going from Shanghai to Singapore to repair a cruise ship, it takes 14 days for a round trip, but Nagasaki can take two days. .

“Close to the port of call and ample opportunities for new entry”
MHI has begun marketing to shipping companies around the world.

Exploration of the history of commuters continues

As new efforts began, commuter ships were abandoned at the end of September, ending their history in 130 years since the Meiji era, despite being temporarily suspended due to the recession of the Showa era.

“There are technologies that have been accumulated so far. We should surely be able to build a ship that fits the current era.” (Mr. Sato)

On the last day of the flight, Mr. Sato, who went to the dock to see the final appearance, spoke with this feeling of loneliness.

And I photographed the figure of a commuter ship that continued to run along with my life.
A city in Nagasaki that has spun history with shipbuilding.
The search for the next era continues, with one milestone.

Reporter from Nagasaki Broadcasting Station
Mirei Yasui joined in 2012. After working at the Sendai Bureau, he was in charge of economics and Nagasaki Municipal Government coverage at the Nagasaki Bureau. Taking charge of this, he is also in charge of cornering.