Japan In Depth - 2015
Denver Takayama Sister Cities


Sado as we see it

We will be staying at the Yahatakan ryokan. Visit their website and check out the amenities:

  • Two restaurants
  • A coffee shop
  • A snack bar
  • A theater hall
  • A karaoke facility
  • Hot spring baths, indoor and outdoor
About Sado Island

Sado Island is in the Sea of Japan. Sado Island Some people say it is 'S'-shaped, other it looks 'somewhat like an anvil. Sado shape You decide.


Because of it's remoteness, Sado Island was used as a place of exile for dissidents and people who displeased those in power. Exile to Sado was considered a very serious punishment, second only to the death sentence, and people exiled to Sado were not expected to return. The earliest known person exiled to Sado was the poet Hozumi no Asomi Oyu who was sent to Sado in the year 722 for having criticized the Emperor.

Gold was found in Aikawa in 1601. Gold from Sado became a major source of funding for the Tokugawa shogunate. The mines were worked in very severe conditions. For a while, homeless people were sent to Sado to work the gold mines. The mine closed in 1989.

The abductions of Japanese citizens from Japan by agents of the North Korean government happened during a period of six years from 1977 to 1983. Although only 17 Japanese (eight men and nine women) are officially recognized by the Japanese government as having been abducted, there may have been hundreds of victims. The North Korean government has officially admitted to abducting 13 Japanese citizens. [Note that several of the abductees were taken from Sado Island.]

On September 17, 2002, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited North Korea to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. To facilitate normalization of relations with Japan, Kim admitted North Korea had abducted 13 Japanese citizens and issued an oral apology. He attributed the abductions to "some people who wanted to show their heroism and adventurism," and avoided taking the blame.

Later, North Korea allowed the five victims that it said were alive to return to Japan, on the condition that they return later to North Korea. The victims returned to Japan on October 15, 2002.

However, the Japanese government, listening to the pleas of the general public and the abductees' families, told North Korea that the victims would not be returning. North Korea claimed that this was a violation of the agreement and refused to continue further talks.

The five repatriated victims were Yasushi Chimura and his wife Fukie, Kaoru Hasuike and his wife Yukiko, and Hitomi Soga - the wife of Charles Robert Jenkins, who remained in North Korea.

Hitomi Soga was able to reunite with her husband and children, but through a more circuitous route. Her husband, Charles Robert Jenkins, was a defector from the United States Army who fled to North Korea where he eventually met and married Soga. Fearing a court-martial, Mr. Jenkins and their two daughters initially met Soga in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 9, 2004, eventually returning together to Japan on July 18. Two months later, on September 11, 2004, Jenkins reported to the army base at Camp Zama, Japan, served a light sentence after being found guilty of desertion and aiding the enemy, and was discharged dishonorably from the army. The family currently lives on Sado Island in Japan.

Additional resources
Some things to do in Sado

Here is a list of suggested sites to see / things to do in Sado. Since we're only on the island for 24 hours we need to be practical and realistic in what we can accomplish.