@ 98 days until Hiroshima Summit: Aquarium with elephant

by Yumie Kubo, Staff Writer

One hundred years ago in 1922, or in the 11th year of the Taisho era, a company named Ujina Betsusekai opened large-scale resort facilities that included a hotel, a restaurant and an entertainment hall in present-day Motoujina-machi in Hiroshima City’s Minami ward. An aquarium was included in the facilities as well. In the beginning of the Showa era, a postcard was made, depicting the aquarium crowded with citizens in Japanese clothes.

After World War II, in 1958, or in the 33rd year of the Showa era, the Ujina Natural Aquarium was privately built. The aquarium operated for more than 20 years and won popularity. The aquarium is said to have kept not only fish but also an elephant and a lion in captivity. This photo, taken in 1958 and provided by the Hiroshima City Museum of History and Traditional Crafts, captured a scene at the aquarium. Akira Sakatani, 63, a resident in Motoujina-machi misses the aquarium and said, “There was an elephant that performed tricks stepping on logs, and children used to shout for joy.” Motoujina-machi was a holiday resort for citizens through both the Taisho and Showa eras.

(Originally published on February 10, 2023)