Noma Hachiro's Monument

In the corner of Noma-en at Yakeyama in Kure, there stands a stone monument engraved with the name of "Noma Hachiro" on it.  Hachiro Noma was born in Yoshiura in 1871 the son of a wealthy sake brewer. He owned vast expanses of land ranging from Karuga, Yoshiura and Yakeyama, which had been inherited for generations. Mr. and Mrs. Noma had no children. In 1938 he contributed some of his land to a few schools in hope of developing children's health. One of them was Kure First Middle School (present Mitsuta High School) which named the land Noma-en to express thanks to the old man and immediately it was brought under cultivation by the students. The land was just like a jungle and the students were often startled at poisonous snakes.


It was the year just previous to World War II. Japan had been intensely striving for strength and expansion of National to cope with the Allied Forces of A.B.C.D. These circumstances encouraged the students to work hard even on Sundays during the war under the name of "kinrohoshi"(labor service).


The monument was built after the death of Mr. Noma in 1940. The land turned out to be a good farm and they started to grow soybeans. The Pacific War broke out in the following year.


In 1963 Noma-en Lodge was built for the use of school activities but the timeworn lodging house didn't survive until 1986. It was taken to pieces. Only the playground remains watching over the history of Noma-en for half a century.

Note by Shigeru Hamamoto

Sometimes when I pass there, it reminds me of the past days of Showa 15 (1940).  I was then a boy of Kure First Middle School, the first year consisted of 214 students. While studying very hard, we often went to Noma-en to put it in order after the land was reclaimed and also carried some timbers in hand-carts from Mitsuta Hill up to Noma-en through the narrow road of Nabetshuchi-toge when the old lodging house was moved up there. I remember very well that I attended the unveiling ceremony of the monument with some classmates in the early autumn. I am sure that only a few know of its history and a thousand emotions crowd my mind.


Parkway Vol.3 No.2 April 1989


呉の焼山にある野間園の一角に、「野間八郎」の名が刻まれた石碑がある。 1871年、野間八郎は、安浦の裕福な酒蔵の息子として生まれた。野間家は何世代にもわたって狩留家、吉浦、焼山など広大な土地を受け継ぎ、所有していた。 野間氏には子どもがいなかった。 1938年、子供の健康を願って、学校に土地を寄付した。そのうちの1つが、呉第一中学校(現三津田高校)である。学生たちは感謝の気持ちを表して、その土地に野間園と名付けた。すぐに耕し始めたが、まさにジャングルのような土地で、毒蛇に驚かされることも度々だった。