Former Shitsu Aid Center
Value and Preservation of the Vocational Training Workshop as a Cultural Property
Full view of Former Shitsu Aid Center / Shitsu Church at the back of picture
『I Want to Help the People of Sotome Escape from Poverty』
The French missionary Father Marc Marie de Rotz' profound love of humanity rooted in his Catholic faith, led him to establish the Aid Center to provide aid for vocational training to needy of Sotome. Former Shitsu Aid Center is located in Shitsu Bunka-Mura Nishishitsu-Machi Nagasaki City. The facility is composed of following assets and has done several preservation repairs until now.
■Former Shitsu Aid Center
・Vocational Training Workshop (Nationally Designated Important Cultural Property)
・De Rotz Wall (Nationally Designated Important Cultural Property)
・Macaroni Factory (Nationally Designated Important Cultural Property)
・Old Flour Mill (Nagasaki Prefecture Designated Cultural Property Remains of Father de Rotz)
・Pharmacy (Nagasaki Prefecture Designated Cultural Property Remains of Father de Rotz)
De Rotz Memorial Hall (Nationally Designated Important Cultural Property) across Former Shitsu Aid center was built by renovating former Sardine Net Workshop (managed by Nagasaki City).
※Additional admission is required for De Rotz Memorial Hall.
The Shitsu church established by Father de Rotz is several tens of meters away.
※You are required to request visiting Shitsu Church to Nagasaki Church Information Center in advance.
Please see『Nagasaki Church Information Center』website for more details.
As of February 2016, these facility have selected as candidates for World Heritage sites, part of a list of churches and Christian sites in Nagasaki and aimed at inscription on the World Heritage List in the near future.
Vocational Training Workshop
The Vocational Training Workshop is the most important facility in the Aid Center. It was used to make yarns, and weave and dye fabrics. Sōmen, bread as well as soy sauce and other soy based fermented products were also made at the workshop. This two-story building is approximately 19.4m long by 5.2m wide. The different parts of the Aid Center were built using both Japanese and Western construction methods and, as shown by the "De Rotz Wall" surrounding the Aid Center, a technique peculiar to the Sotome area. The whole offers a significant glimpse of the early days of the introduction of western architectural techniques to Japan on the early Meiji period. The social work of Father de Rotz, who brought social welfare institutions and modern social welfare thoughts from the West to Japan, is thought to constitute one if the brilliant contributions he made to the development of modern Japan from a poor village. You can see chronology related to Former Shitsu Aid Center history, furniture and instrument used at that time at first floor of Vocational Training Workshop.
"De Rotz wall", more than 100 years old, but still in excellent condition.
When Father de Rotz saw the poor rain-resistant performance of amakawa, a mortar used in Japan at that time to bond stones, he replaced it with red clay diluted with water and mixed with lime and sand. It is said that he devised and proposed a robust wall, the "De Rotz wall", made of local natural stones piled up irregularly, and used the mixture on the greater part of the foundation and walls of the workshop.
The macaroni factory consisted of two separate rooms, one on the east and the other on the west side of the building. The west room had a mezzanine floor and the east room was equipped with a cast-iron cooking stove located near the east wall. The factory was called macaroni beya (literally "macaroni room" or "kura-ie" (literally "store-house") due to its storehouse-like structure. Documents of the time indicate that a machine imported from Europe for fabrication of macaroni and the like had been installed in one of the rooms,which had a large workbench inside. Marks of bolts used to secure this machine in place remain visible on the earthen floor of the west room. This suggests that macaroni and other pasta were fabricated there. Macaroni made in here was sold to foreigners in Nagasaki at that time.
Remains of Father de Rotz
Old Flour Mill
Father de Rotz who had well knowledge of the agriculture imported wheat seed for sōmen from France and cultivated then milled at water mill. Sōmen is made using an unique method with peanut oil cultivated at local area. People love our sōmen called 'doro-sama sōmen' even now. First floor of the Vocational Training Workshop is for cooking experience and second floor is for selling our special local goods.
Sotome was in the grip of a Typhoid fever and medical technology faced the difficult situation to cure. Medical center or pharmacy seemed needed then Father de Rotz imported medical tools and medicines from France. He also hired the doctors and started medical care. Pharmacy turned to be entrance of Former Shitsu Aid Center.