Yumugi Ranch

Nowadays, this municipal reach is used for the rearing of beef cattle. For a time during the Meiji era (1883–1889), however, it was used to raise sheep.

At the time, it was thought that a great profit could be found selling wool to the military. Thus, in January of 1883 (Meiji 16), 44 island residents opened the Yumugi Sheep Ranch. That same year, 175 sheep and a total of 8,000 yen was lent to the ranch by the Meiji government (160 million yen, or about 1.5 million USD in today’s money (as of 2022)).

The first year of its operation, one wool pelt could be sold for 180 yen. Two years later, the sheep flock had grown to 570 animals. Another year after that, in 1886, one wool pelt fetched a price of 219 yen, and the flock had reached 750 animals. While the farm made a killing selling wool, the difficulties of doing so from this small isolated island started to pile up. Add together the costs of the sheep’s feed, the costs of shipping them by boat to the mainland, and the damages from typhoons, and the farm’s operation began to take an economical hit.

The farm owners found that they could no longer bear the burden of the sheep farm, and in a final act of desperation tried to move their operations to the Anbo area on Yakushima. When that too failed, they sold the land to the municipality, and in 1889 (Meiji 22), the farm closed.

Yumugi Ranch



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