Washo Ichiba market is the oldest market with long histories in Kushiro, which was set up in 1945, seen as civic kitchen. Because there were always energetic shouts “wasshoi, wasshoi” in the market (the pronunciation of “Wasshoi” is similar to “Washo” in Japanese), the market was named “Washo”, which means to trade harmoniously.
It was in 1952…
- It’s been 60 years from now…It feels like it has been a long time but also feels like it has just happened recently…
An old, shabby trailer and a dog. In order to live, some people put their children in the apple cartons to find a settle place, got up early from Nusamai bridge to the station square (now is Kitaodori) for business. But there are few people know their stories now…
Except for the days that fishermen couldn’t go fishing, people always pulled the trailers and gathered at Kitaodori, then went back after finishing work.
These people are the founders of Kushiro domestic kitchen---the pioneers of “Washo Ichiba market” and kept it till now.
- Because they didn’t have enough money to own a shop, they had no choice but to work as vendors, even in bad weather. According to this situation, they worked harder and harder. But their determination and efforts turned into prohibition by the police according to the law of” illegal occupation of the road”, the strict warning and suasion of closing down by the health center due to the “Food Sanitation Law”. But people of Washo still had to rely on this work to live.
For the convenience of their customers---Kan kan corps (traveling merchants), also due to the inconvenience of frequent moving, they chose the place near the station as the trading site. People in Washo worked like a horse but they didn’t feel they were unhappy. Although they had to make much more efforts than others, all the dedication was for children’s education and the hope that families could be together every day.
- They worked from late at night to morning and daytime was their break time. Their lifestyle was totally different from normal people. Although the children studied hard, played hard and grew up healthily, the parents could barely see how their children performed. Not to mention the Parents’ Day, they didn’t even have the time to cheer up for their children in the school sports day
- In about 1952, 1953, merchants’ turbulent period finally ended. They finally fulfilled the goal that they were dying for, owning a shop with roof that can keep wind and rain out to provide a stable sale sites and nobody would run after them.
- In December, 1954, 9 people, the association founders assembled 60 members to establish the “Kushiro Station Square Washo Cooperative” (renamed as “Kushiro Washo Cooperative”), with the spirit of trading harmoniously. The founders didn’t add new members until 1978. The strength of unity made them share the difficulties with each other, kept working hard to protect the properties and increase the income. In the 6th year after founding the cooperative, 60 members finally fulfilled their dreams of opening a new shop in July, 1960. The cooperative passed through the precarious time of founding and growing, greeted the ripening of the group.
- It was only a group of people with trailers at beginning, with their tenacity, the cooperative was formed. Besides, the shop with the rustic atmosphere of traditional market made the civics feel familiar so it was thought as “civic kitchen”.
- When the new shop was built in 1978, some people suggested to collaborate with foreign shops or to build a three-storied building. But the founders kept their properties until building this shop at prime location in front of the station.
- There were five markets at the west site of station, including the morning market. Each of the markets wanted to be as the civic kitchen which led to fierce competition. Thanks to the civic and the teaching from the pioneers---“Keep discussing until reaching a purpose that everyone agrees with and work toward the same goal”, Washo Ichiba market could achieve the position today. And the faith of “trade harmoniously” is also the most important indicator for us to move toward the future.
- The cultures of Washo are always the face-to-face selling, placing high value on the communication between people and the ingredients. Even though there are some comments of vulgar or out-of-fashion, we’ll hold the faith of “Washo is different from others, is what we are.” and live up to civics’ expectation as “civic kitchen”.A business started from feeding themselves and the families…passed through lots of challenge, Washo is a unique group. Once they reach a conclusion, everyone will obey it. This unity still runs in the group now. We’ll keep the faith of “trade harmoniously” for Washo Ichiba market while taking the change of times. Even if the situation is severe, we’ll keep contacting closely with the country and do all we can to make an environment that everyone can work happily.
- At last…people lived in the apple cartons are over 65 years old now. It’s time for the alternation of generations.
- The ninth-generation chief director of Kushiro Washo Cooperative kazumi Yamaguchi