Squid is a famous marine product of the Oki Islands. However, the relationship between squid and Oki people is more than just that. It dates back to the time of myths and legends…
There is one such legend surrounding Yurahime Shrine in Nishinoshima Island. According to the legend, one day, the goddess of the shrine (Yurahime) was bitten on the hand by squid. In order to apologize for this offense, it is said that every year shoals of squid would swarm into the bay in front of the shrine (called Squid Bay) and launch themselves out of the water onto the beach.
In fact, shoals of white squid do swarm into the shallow Squid Bay. These days, such an event only occurs once every few years. However, records state that every year during festival time squid would jump out of the water onto the beach where people could ‘fish’ for them them with their hands.
Diamond squid of up to 1m long also habitually migrate into Squid Bay from Autumn to Winter every year. During this time many people wait patiently in the bay to catch them. Squid consistently migrate in large numbers to this bay and another bay in Dōgo Island. Both face south-west and are appropriately named ‘Squid Bay’. Diamond squid in particular are known to migrate along the Tsushima Warm Current which flows from the southwest of the Japanese Archipelago. This tells us that the geography of the coast of Oki and the migration patterns of squid are closely-related.