Concept

Ikitsuki, Nagasaki

Summary
was a town on the island of the same name located in Kitamatsuura District, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. As of 2003, the town had an estimated population of 7,392 and a density of 445.84 people per km2. The total area was 16.58 km2. On October 1, 2005, Ikitsuki, along with the town of Tabira and the village of Ōshima (all from Kitamatsuura District), was merged into the expanded city of Hirado. Ikitsuki is known historically for two primary reasons: a legacy of whaling and hidden Christians. Near the south end of the island is a museum with exhibits on both these aspects of Ikitsuki's history. Nearly all the people of Ikitsuki live on the east side of the island. The west side faces out into the open ocean (sea) and is very windy. In addition, much of the west side of the island is cliff-face, with only a few spots which are flat enough even for terraced farming. The scenery is stunning in Ikitsuki, and has attracted a great number of domestic tourists since road access was available through bridges connecting Hirado Island with the mainland and Ikitsuki Island to Hirado. The dialect of Ikitsuki can be difficult to understand, even for Japanese people who live in nearby towns. However, this is more true among the older people, and "standard" Japanese is spoken in educational and governmental settings. Ikitsuki's economy is still mainly supported by a niche fishing industry. As fishing and agriculture, in general, are in decline in Japan and other industrialized nations in the world, Ikitsuki's fishing fleet, as well as its tax base, has been declining in recent years. However, as Ikitsuki has traditionally been dependent on specialty catches, namely squid (ika), and flying fish (ago), the island has weathered Japan's shrinking fishing industry better than most other rural communities. There are two elementary schools on Ikitsuki: Ikutsuki Elementary School (生月小学校) and Yamada Elementary School (山田小学校). There is one junior high – Ikutsuki Middle School (生月中学校). There is no high school; kids are required to commute off of the island.
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