The Origins of Uzbekistan-Maizuru Relations ウズベキスタン・舞鶴市の関係をたどる

Hello, everyone!
My name is Arthur and I have been working as the CIR in Maizuru City Office since 2017. Today, I would like to introduce to you a bit about myself, and the history of the relationship between Maizuru City and Uzbekistan.


Here I am wearing a yukata to a welcome event for cruise ship passengers visiting Maizuru

I was born and raised in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Since I was a child, I heard stories about the Japanese people who contributed to the infrastructure of Uzbekistan. You’re probably wondering how Maizuru, a city in Japan, can be related to Uzbekistan, a country in Central Asia. To be honest, even I did not find out about it until just recently! To understand the story, let’s go back to the years following World War 2.


After the end of WW2, about 600,000 Japanese people were interned in the Soviet Union. Among them, 26,000 were sent to Uzbekistan, which was part of the Soviet Union at the time. There, Japanese internees took part in many important and vital infrastructure projects for Uzbekistan, such as the hydroelectric power plant in Bekobad City, and the building of schools, theatres, roads, factories, electric communications for tram systems and so on. In fact, one of those electric communications buildings is close to my home!

第二次世界大戦後、約60万の日本人が旧ソ連に抑留されました。その内2万6千人が当時旧ソ連の一部だったウズベキスタンにも送られたのです。日本人抑留者はウズベキスタンの大事なインフラの建設に参加しました。例えば、ベカバード市にある水力発電施設や学校や道路や工場や電気鉄塔や路面電車の電気設備が日本人抑留者によって建てられたのです。 実はその電機設備の1つは私の家の近くにあります。

The famous Aliver Navoi Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

The Alisher Navoi State Opera and Ballet Theatre, one of the most famous buildings in Uzbekistan, was also built by Japanese internees. Constructed in 1947, the Alisher Navoi Theatre is the biggest and widely considered the best theatre in Uzbekistan. 457 Japanese internees took part in its construction, all of whom went back to Japan through the Maizuru City Port after its completion. In 1966, about 70% of the city was ruined by a strong earthquake in Tashkent, but the Alisher Navoi Theatre had not collapsed. After that, the people in Uzbekistan were convinced that, despite all the difficulties, lack of food, and being far from their homeland, the Japanese internees worked conscientiously.

ウズベキスタンで最も有名な建物の1つであるアリシェル・ナヴォイバレェ劇場も、日本人の抑留者によって建てられました。 1947年に建設されたこの劇場は、ウズベキスタンで最大かつ最高の劇場と見なされています。 建設には457人の日本人抑留者が参加し、全員が舞鶴港を経由して日本に帰国しました。 1966年、タシケントで発生した大地震により、市内の約70%が破壊されましたが、ナヴォイ劇場は崩壊していませんでした。 その後、ウズベキスタンの人々は、困難、食糧不足、祖国から遠く離れているにもかかわらず、日本人の抑留者は誠実に働いていたと確信しました。

A Japanese cemetery in Uzbekistan

Exhausted by the war effort, the Soviet Union did not have enough resources to support Uzbekistan and other regions within its domain, which led to a shortage of food and people living in poverty. The peculiarity of Uzbekistan was that Uzbekistanis, instead of feeling hostile towards the Japanese, felt compassion for them. There were many cases of local people giving food to the Japanese internees. The internees made handmade toys for the locals in thanks for their kindness. Now, in Uzbekistan, there are 12 Japanese cemeteries that are carefully looked after by the government of Uzbekistan. The Japanese internees who built the Alisher Navoi Theatre created the “4th Tashkent Camp” after returning to Maizuru City, and planted a cherry blossom tree in the park of the Maizuru Repatriation Museum to commemorate their time in Uzbekistan.

戦争遂行のために疲れ果てたソビエト連邦には、ウズベキスタンを支援するための資源がなく、食糧不足や貧困に苦しむ人々を生みました。一方で、ウズベキスタンの人々は日本人に対して敵意を抱くのではなく、彼らに思いやりを持って接しました。 地元の人が日本人抑留者に食べ物を与えるケースが多く、 つめる抑留者たちは、地元の人々の親切に感謝して手作りのおもちゃを作りました。 現在、ウズベキスタンには、ウズベキスタン政府によって丁寧に管理されている12の日本人墓地があります。 ナヴォイ劇場を建設した457人の日本人抑留者は、舞鶴市に戻った後、「第4タシケントラーゲル会」を作り、舞鶴引揚記念館の公園にウズベキスタンでの滞在を記念して桜の木を植えました。

The rich, historical relationship between Maizuru and Uzbekistan allowed Maizuru City to become the host town for the Uzbekistan judo and wrestling teams participating in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Since the establishment of the host town relationship, a number of officials and sports teams from Uzbekistan have visited Maizuru City, such as the Ambassador of Uzbekistan, the Minister of Sports, the Minister of Culture, the judo national team, and the national junior wrestling team. In 2021, Maizuru City and the Rishtan region of Uzbekistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the hosting of Uzbekistani students at Kyoto Polytechnic College in Maizuru.

舞鶴とウズベキスタンの豊かな歴史的関係により、舞鶴市は、来たる東京オリンピックに参加するウズベキスタン柔道とレスリングチームのホストタウンになりました。 ホストタウンの関係確立以来、ウズベキスタン大使、スポーツ大臣、文化大臣、柔道代表チーム、ジュニアレスリング代表選手団など、ウズベキスタンから多くの関係者やスポーツチームが舞鶴市を訪れました。 2021年、舞鶴市とウズベキスタンのリシタン地方は、舞鶴にある職業能力開発大学校京都校でのウズベキスタンの学生の受け入れに関する覚書を取り交わしました。

Now, we are preparing to host the Uzbekistan Olympic teams for judo and wrestling in Maizuru City. I’ll be quite busy cheering for Japan and Uzbekistan at the Olympics this year!

現在、舞鶴市でウズベキスタンの柔道とレスリング代表選手団を受け入れる準備をしています。 今年のオリンピックでは、日本とウズベキスタンを応援するのに忙しいです!

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