Kitamaebune Trading Ships

Oki prospered as a port of call for Kitamaebune Trading Ships from the mid-Edo Period to around 1897. Kitamaebune Trading Ships were merchant ships that connected Osaka and Hokkaido, and made round trips along the coast of the Sea of Japan, while trading products such as used clothes, rice and seafood at ports of call. The sails of the early ships were not as sturdy, and the ships could only make short trips along the coast of the Sea of Japan. However, in the 1780s when textile technology advanced and sturdy sails were developed, two round-trips can be made along the route between Shimonoseki, Oki and Sado Island in a year.
All ports in Oki were used as a base for the trading ships to wait for favorable wind and to restock their supplies, and as many as 4500 ships anchored in Oki in busy years. Furthermore, the trading ships did not just brought goods but also information and culture to from all over Japan to the islands. Among those are folk songs that are still sung nowadays and well known Oki folk songs include: "Oki Shigesa-bushi" (a folk song that is hugely popular on Dōgo Island), which was derived from a folk song of Niigata prefecture origin, and "Dossari-bushi" (a folk song that is not unknown to locals on Chiburijima Island), which is said to be sung when sailors unloaded the cargo.