The dynamism of the industry initiated in Menashi by the Aizu clan: from the 1600s to the 1900s

The “Wajin” (People mainly lived in Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu area at that time) who arrived on the coast of the Nemuro Strait during the Edo period developed the salmon fishing grounds there. However, these exploitive operations provoked the Ainu, who were used for manpower, and the Shogunate became involved in the resulting rebellion. From 18th century, there were repeated clashes in the vicinity of the Kuril Islands, between the Wajin who came north in search of salmon, and the Russians who came south in search of sea otter fur. Notsuke became the base and eventually the location of the tomb of the Aizu clan, who had been assigned the task of guarding the boarder at the eastern gateway and developing the region. Nanma Tsunanori, the local governor of Shibetsu conceived a plan to develop the region based on a fishing industry pioneered jointly by the Ainu and Wajin, whose cultures differed, and the concept was expressed on the Shibetsu Banya folding screen. At the time, salmon was a luxury fish and the quality of the local salmon was so good it became one of the brands of the Edo period. In 1878, the Hokkaido Development Commission established the Betsukai Cannery at the Nishibetsu River estuary. The factory was later privatized and several more facilities were built along the coast of the Strait, including on Kunashiri Island.