Shiga History May–August 2019

Visited Moriyama City Library designed by Kuma Kengo.

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s major news headlines for May–August 2019 (according to the year, month, day).

Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 280 English characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). Dates and times below are based on GMT, not Japan time.

May 9, 2019: In Nagahama, 7 people who ate chicken at Ryoma Shamonojo restaurant on April 19, 2019 suffered from food poisoning caused by the Campylobacter bacteria. Shamonoji was ordered to close for three days from April 30. #龍馬軍鶏農場長浜店

May 9, 2019: On April 25, 2019 in Hino, two jr. high girls from Kobe got seriously injured (broken arm and leg) while operating a farming tractor that fell 3 meters into a rice paddy from the road. It was part of a farm experience for 80 students from their school. #日野町佐久良

May 9, 2019: Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei held a special Buddhist service from April 28 to May 1 to pray for peace in Japan’s new era and to celebrate the accession of Emperor Naruhito on May 1, 2019, the first day of the new Reiwa Period. #奉祝御修法

May 9, 2019: All the URLs at and have changed from http:// to https:// for added security. The old URLs still work, automatically redirected to https://. This has wiped out our social media likes. Oh well…

May 9, 2019: Tragic accident in Otsu on May 8, 2019 when a two-car collision at a T-intersection along Lake Biwa had one car hit 13 preschool kids & 3 staff from nearby Leimond Omi Nursery School waiting to cross the road. Two of the kids (Ito Gaku, Harada Yui, age 2) died, others injured.

May 9, 2019: Shintate Fumiko (52, 新立文子), the driver who caused the tragic accident in Otsu, admitted that she wasn’t looking when she tried to turn right at the intersection where she got hit by a car driven by Shimoyama Fumiko (62) that consequently plowed into the 16 kids & staff.

May 9, 2019: Many tears of sadness are flowing in Otsu over the needless loss of precious young lives and the unimaginable grief of their parents and others. The street corner where they spent their last moments is filling with flowers, offerings, and prayers.

May 19, 2019: Repercussions of the tragic car accident in Otsu on May 8 are rippling across Japan. Daycare centers, schools, and police are beefing up safety measures for kids. Safer walking routes for kids and slower driving speeds near schools are being implemented. Prayers for the victims.

May 19, 2019: Koka is planning to build a ninja tourist attraction with ninja shows, ninja school for tourists, and eateries featuring local tea and produce. No mention on when or where it will open…

May 19, 2019: In Konan on May 13, Mochizuki Keigo (61, 望月敬吾), former head of the city’s construction dept. (建設経済部長) arrested on suspicion of bid-rigging an elementary school air-conditioning installation project. He allegedly leaked the minimum bid to Okumura Setsubi Co. (奥村設備).

May 19, 2019: Freestyle moguls skier Ito Miki (31) from Hino announced her retirement from the sport on May 13, 2019. She appeared in three Winter Olympics in 2006 (Torino), 2010 (Vancouver), & 2014 (Sochi). Although she won medals in world championships, an Olympic medal eluded her. #伊藤みき

May 19, 2019: On May 16, 2019 at Ojiyama Sports Park (皇子山総合運動公園) during a national jr. high sports meet (中学総体), 62 female students got a rash or itchy skin on their arms and legs apparently from sitting on plastic benches at the soft tennis court. Soft tennis has been canceled.

May 19, 2019: At the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Osaka on May 19, Hikone-native Kiryu Yoshihide placed second (10.01 s) behind Justin Gatlin (10.00 s) in the 100 meter race. #桐生祥秀

May 19, 2019: At the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Osaka on May 19, Hikone-native Kiryu Yoshihide (anchor) and his three track mates won 1st place in the Men’s 400m relay race in 38.00 sec., the fastest time this season. #桐生祥秀

May 19, 2019: Folktale in English for the kids: Monster Centipede on Mt. Mikami. 俵藤太秀郷ムカデ退治

Jun 7, 2019: From May 31, 2019, the Shiga Prefectural Gov’t Building and other prefectural buildings went 100% smoke-free. Smokers won’t even find smoking areas/booths within the premises. From July 2019, schools, hospitals, & other gov’t facilities in Shiga will also go totally smoke-free.

Jun 7, 2019: Shiga policeman (30s) has been punished for forcibly kissing and groping a woman acquaintance in March 2019 during late-night drinking at an eatery in Shiga. His salary was reduced to 1/10 for 6 months. Policeman’s name was undisclosed.

Jun 7, 2019: Hikone City Hall continues to have problems finding a contractor to finish renovating its gutted building. Contractors are too busy with Olympics construction & disaster rebuilding. The planned Oct. 2020 completion date will likely be delayed. Temporary offices are in AL Plaza.

Jun 7, 2019: Japan’s first bridge named after the new Reiwa Era opened in Otsu on May 26, 2019. Named “Setagawa Reiwa Ohashi” (瀬田川令和大橋), the new two-lane bridge spans 176 m over Seta River a few km downstream from Lake Biwa. Part of National Route 422 bypass.

Jun 7, 2019: Former Shiga Governor Kada Yukiko has announced her candidacy to represent Shiga in the National Diet’s House of Councillors. She is an independent backed by opposition parties who agreed to field a single candidate to try & unseat the LDP’s incumbent. Election day is July 28.

Jun 7, 2019: At the Japan Open swim meet in Tatsumi Pool in Tokyo on May 31, Hikone-native Ohashi Yui 大橋悠依 won the women’s 400-meter individual medley in 4 min. 33.81 sec. She also won it at Japan Swim 2019 on April 8, 2019 (photo).

Jun 7, 2019: Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay in Shiga will be on May 28–29, 2020 starting in Takashima (metasequoia) & ending in Nagahama (Hokoen Park). It will run through all of Shiga’s cities & towns. About 160 torch runners in Shiga will run. Exact route TBA.

Jun 7, 2019: In Nagahama, the Mt. Shizugatake chair lift, owned by Ohmi Railways since it opened in 1959, has been sold to Oku-Ibuki Kanko that operates Oku-Ibuki ski grounds. The lift has been closed since March 23, 2018 due to a landslide. They hope to reopen the chair lift on July 6, 2019.

Jun 7, 2019: Shiga is a top prefecture for longevity. Average male lifespan is No. 1 in Japan & No. 4 for females. Shiga Univ. Data Science Dept. & other researchers found a correlation with the high volume of library books borrowed and the high rate of seniors involved in social activities.

Jun 14, 2019: Shiga Pref. Police is urging elderly drivers to turn in their driver’s licenses & quit driving. They want elderly drivers to take a discounted taxi or bus instead. Hard to do in rural areas. From Jan.–April 2019, 1,810 people age 65+ in Shiga gave up their driver’s licenses.

Jun 14, 2019: Prince Akishino visited Shiga on June 13–14, 2019. He visited a Hikone butsudan Buddhist altar factory in Kora, an exhibition of painted gourds at a Hikone hotel, and a childcare facility. #秋篠宮さま

Jun 14, 2019: Ritto has decided to reject Costco’s plan to open a store in the city. Changes in urban zoning and concerns over the heavy traffic that Costco would bring forced the city to cancel the plan.

Jun 14, 2019: In Higashi-Omi, the Shiga Pref. Peace Memorial Museum (滋賀県平和祈念館) is holding an exhibition until Sept. 23 on soldiers from Shiga who died in the Battle of Okinawa. They were among 1,229 young soldiers from Shiga who died in Okinawa in 1945. Some were in the suicide corps.

Jun 14, 2019: NHK大津局が京都駅周辺に36人の外国人旅行者に”滋賀県を知っていますか?”と聞いてみると”知らない”という人が32人でした(笑).”Shiga”や”Biwako”ではなく,外国人が知っている”甲賀忍者””彦根城””延暦寺””織田信長”等をPRしなきゃ。外国人の観点と心理が今まだ理解されていない。

Jun 14, 2019: Live concert cruise on Bianca departing Otsu Port on June 30 (Sun.) at 2 pm and returning at 5 pm. Performers are my dear friends: Sekijima Hideki, Nagahama-based ~Lefa~, & Kondo Yumiko reed flute player. Call 077-524-5000 to reserve tickets, only ¥3500. Includes refreshments.

Jun 18, 2019: At 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Nations League in Tokyo on June 11, Japan’s Kurogo Ai (right) warms up for their match against Brazil. Brazil beat Japan 3 sets to 1. Kurogo is a star player on the national team and plays for Toray Arrows in Otsu. #黒後愛

Jul 1, 2019: Yasu City Hall environment section employee Nakano Kohei (27, 中野浩平) found guilty by Otsu District Court & fired on June 14, 2019 for placing a hidden camera in the women’s toilet in Yasu City Hall in Dec. 2018. City was unaware that he had a history of doing this before.

Jul 1, 2019: Due to the heat, Otsu will no longer hold the annual noontime temple bell-ringing peace ceremony on Aug. 15 to mark World War II’s end. Buddhist temples in Otsu will continue to ring their bells themselves on Aug. 15 as they have since 1989. 平和の鐘撞き

Jul 1, 2019: Woman in her 60s arrested for a prank call to Hikone preschool Donguri Hoikuen on June 18, 2019 saying, “a terrible thing will happen, evacuate!” Everyone evacuated. Police suspect she also made similar prank calls to Kitagori Hoikuen in Nagahama and Kawase High School in Hikone.

Jul 1, 2019: Two-year-old boy who was in serious condition after the tragic car accident in Otsu on May 8 when 2 preschool kids died and 13 injured has regained consciousness in ICU on June 19.

Jul 1, 2019: Rainy season has started in the Kansai Region (including Shiga) on June 26, 2019, the latest start since records were kept since 1951.

Jul 1, 2019: At the 103rd Japan National Championships in Fukuoka for athletics on June 28, 2019, Hikone-native Kiryu Yoshihide came in 2nd (10.16 sec.) after Sani Brown (10.02 sec.) in the 100m final. For 200 meters on June 29, Kiryu was 3rd (20.54 s) after Sani Brown 1st (20.35 s). 桐生祥秀

Jul 2, 2019: Shiga is now recruiting runners for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch relay in Shiga on May 28–29, 2020. Of the 160 runners, only 32 will be recruited from the public. They’re looking for community-oriented candidates of any nationality. Apply by Aug. 31, 2019.

Jul 31, 2019: As of Jan. 1, 2019, Shiga’s Japanese population decreased by 2,282 compared to the last year. However, Shiga’s foreign population increased, increasing Shiga’s total population by 445 to 1.428 million. Shiga saw 2,727 new foreigners in 2018 for a total of 29,274 foreigners.

Jul 31, 2019: Shiga Prefectural Gov’t male section chief (40s) punished for sexual harassment of a female co-worker in Aug. 2018. He forcibly kissed her in an eatery, & asked her to be his GF. He only got 1/10 reduced pay for 3 months. Woman scarred for life. Culprit’s name undisclosed.

Jul 31, 2019: Charges filed against a police captain (53) in Shiga for obscene acts & sexual harassment of a female acquaintance (20s) in a restroom of an eatery in Maibara on July 3, 2019. Culprit was suspended for 1 month, but he resigned. His name undisclosed.

Jul 31, 2019: On July 21, former Shiga Governor Kada Yukiko beat the LDP’s incumbent & won a seat to represent Shiga for her first time in the National Diet’s House of Councillors. She was an independent backed by opposition parties. Her term is 6 years, starting on July 29, 2019. #嘉田由紀子

Jul 31, 2019: On July 26, 2019, the Shiga BOE fired a woman school teacher for sexual harassment of a male student attending her school. From June to Nov. 2018, she kissed and groped the student 5 times in her car in Higashi-Omi & at school. Her name & age undisclosed. Boy didn’t tell police.

Jul 31, 2019: On July 26, Ohmi High School beat Kousen High in the prefectural baseball tournament to represent Shiga for two years in a row at the Summer Koshien national high school baseball tournament starting Aug. 6. #近江高校

Jul 31, 2019: On July 27, a mild Typhoon No. 6 (Nari) forced some festivals in Shiga to be canceled such as the Otsu Mazare Matsuri. Rained quite a bit, but no major damage reported.

Jul 31, 2019: At the 18th FINA World Championships swim meet in Gwanju, Korea on July 29, Hikone-native Ohashi Yui 大橋悠依 won the bronze for the women’s 400-meter individual medley in 4 min. 32.33 sec.

Jul 31, 2019: At the Kusatsu Honjin where VIP samurai travelers lodged, an old tobacco case was found with a paper tag indicating that it was forgotten by the Shinsengumi who stayed there in May 1865. The item will be displayed at Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan (草津宿街道交流館) on Aug. 1–18.

Jul 31, 2019: Kusatsu Basho grand sumo exhibition tournament was held at YMIT Kusatsu City Arena on July 30, 2019. Over 3,000 spectators enjoyed seeing sumo stars like Yokozuna Hakuho.

Jul 31, 2019: After the rainy season ended on July 24 in the Kansai Region, July 29 became the first hot summer day in Shiga with temps soaring to 35 C or higher. By 5 pm, 10 people were taken by ambulance for mild heat illness.

Jul 31, 2019: Worsening Japan-Korea relations are starting to affect Shiga with cancelations of sister-city activities such as between Moriyama & Gongju. Other Shiga cities plan to go ahead with student exchange visits to Korea. About 10% of Shiga’s exports go to Korea so there’s much concern.

Jul 31, 2019: Otsu Mazare (Mother Lake) Matsuri at Hama-Otsu was canceled on the first day due to Typhoon No. 6, but held as scheduled on July 28. The Goshu Ondo dance was nicely squeezed in, but not announced on official media. Not so many dancers. Ended with short fireworks. #大津マザレ祭り

Jul 31, 2019: At the 18th FINA World Championships swim meet in Gwanju, Korea on July 13, Omi-Hachiman-native Inui Yukiko #乾友紀子 won bronze for artistic swimming solo technical routine and also bronze for solo free routine on July 17.

Jul 31, 2019: For 6 years in a row, Shiga’s 6th graders & 3rd-year jr high kids scored lower than the nat’l average on all scholastic achievement tests in April 2019. Introduced for the 1st time, the English test also saw lower-than-average scores. Sad! #学力テスト

Jul 31, 2019: Visited Japan’s most beautiful public library: Moriyama City Library designed by Kuma Kengo, opened in Nov. 2018. Wood everywhere, on the ceiling, walls, floor, & stairs. Cafe, meeting rooms, spaces for kids, teenagers, etc. Stunning! 守山市立図書館 隈研吾

Aug 15, 2019: Typhoon No. 10 (Krosa) expected to hit Kinki Region today on Aug. 15. Most outdoor attractions, lake cruises, festivals, etc., are closed or cancelled today. Train lines may be wholly or partially suspended.

Aug 20, 2019: In Shiga, Typhoon No. 10 (Krosa) on Aug. 15–16 injured 5 people. At a Hikone store parking lot, strong winds slammed the emergency exit door on the right hand of age 65 security guard who suffered two severed fingers. Other people were injured by falls, from a bicycle, etc.

Aug 20, 2019: In Shiga, Typhoon No. 10 (Krosa) on Aug. 15–16 caused minor damage. In Kora, Saimyoji Temple had minor damage to the Hondo’s roof & Nitenmon Gate’s roof had a fallen copper plate. In Aisho, Toyomitsu Shrine’s main gate had fallen plaster. Meanwhile, Hikone Castle was undamaged.

Aug 21, 2019: Citing worsening political relations between Japan & Korea, Koka’s sister city Incheon in Korea postponed hosting Koka’s jr. high students for a 5-day homestay trip scheduled from Aug. 28, 2019. It’s been 3 years since Koka sent students to Incheon. How disappointing…

Aug 21, 2019: On Aug. 6, 2019, Shiga BOE fired age 39 male high school employee for the repeated sexual harassment and groping of a woman co-worker from Aug. 2018 to April 2019 while at work. Took a year for action to be taken. His name undisclosed, & he remains free & a danger to women.

Aug 21, 2019: At Nagahama Castle, 4.5 meter-long remains of a stone wall built during Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s time (16th c.) has been excavated for the 1st time. Extremely rare. When Nagahama Castle was dismantled, most of the materials went to Hikone Castle & almost nothing original remains.

Aug 21, 2019: Ohmi High School lost to Tokai University Sagami High School 1-6 in their 1st game on Aug. 11, 2019 at the Summer Koshien national high school baseball tournament. Shocking to see 6 errors. #近江高等学校 #東海大相模 #夏の甲子園

Aug 21, 2019: Kyoto University Rowing Club rowed safely around Lake Biwa on Aug. 8–11, 2019. See photos on their blog. #琵琶湖周航

Aug 21, 2019: Nice to see Hikone-native Kiryu Yoshihide being a poster boy for the Nissay Caravan now touring nationwide to promote Tokyo 2020. Fun, interactive sports activities. (Already toured Shiga last Sept.) #日本生命みんなの2020全国キャラバン

Aug 21, 2019: Nice to see Ritto-native Kimura Keiichi (Rio Paralympic silver medalist swimmer) interviewed in Tokyo’s local Koto-ku newsletter. Koto has 10 Olympic venues. #江東区報 #木村敬一

Aug 21, 2019: Five people have drowned in Lake Biwa so far this summer: 1st grader from Osaka, 2 Osaka college boys, age 25 Fukuoka man, & age 42 Yokohama man. Age 4 Kyoto boy also in serious condition. Prayers for them & their families. This already exceeds the 4 who drowned last summer. 合掌

Aug 21, 2019: リニューアルされた滋賀県の公式ホームページは自動翻訳が導入されて滋賀県知事の名前は外国語でCrescent Moon Daizo。これじゃ世界への発信はできない。国際的のイメージもダウン。英語ってそんなに嫌?恥ずかしい。

Aug 21, 2019: According to Shiga Prefecture’s revamped official website, the Shiga Governor’s name is “Crescent Moon Daizo” in English.

Aug 21, 2019: Enjoyed a most sumptuous full-course lunch at Mameshin, a traditional machiya house over 100 years old and a National Registered Tangible Cultural Property in Otsu. For 5 generations, the Imai family has been operating it as a high-class ryotei restaurant. Arigato Imai-san! 豆信

Shiga History January–April 2019Chronological History of Shiga | Shiga History Sept.–Dec. 2019

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