Have you heard of the cormorant? As many of you know, it is a kind of bird. But cormorants are not ordinary birds like those which we see every day in the sky. Cormorants can dive under water and catch fish quite skillfully and can be trained to help people fish.
Fishing with cormorants is one ofJapanfs traditional fishing methods, dating back to the 7th century. As some of such fishermen began to dedicate their seasonal catch to lords of the areas, they came under the protection of authorities. Lords were much pleased to see such fishing because the method was unique; moreover, they could enjoy fresh fish on the spot. The skills needed for such fishing have been passed down from father to son over many generations. Now fishing with cormorants is performed mainly as a kind of tourist attraction in several parts of Japan.
Cormorant fishing is best observed at night. You can see small fishing boats floating on the river, each with small fires to attract fish hung in the bow of the boats, which stand out against the night sky. A master, called an gushoh, who wears traditional headgear and costume, skillfully commands the cormorants which have a cord tied at the base of their necks to prevent them from swallowing the catch (although they can swallow small fish). Cormorants dive into water one after another and then return to the boats to have the catch taken out of their mouths. When you watch cormorant fishing, maybe you will forget about the heat of the summer and be charmed by this ancient traditional sight.
Cormorant fishing is performed in Miyoshi and Iwakuni during the summer.