- 彦根論叢 (ISSN:03875989)
- no.第407号, pp.108-121, 2016-03
When one thinks of unordinary trips, anaround-the-world cruise on a luxurious shipand a transcontinental trip on a deluxe sleepertrain come to mind. Yet this paper will discussthe opposite of these types of travel: namely,low-class trips by what the author calls “fictitiousrailways.”The mysterious and fictitious railways run bya private logging train company existed brieflybefore the Second World War on the southernedge of Shikoku Island, and vanished withoutbeing noticed. People used the service to enjoya scenic view of a valley with a famous waterfallfrom a train that did not have a roof or evenseats.Trolley trains on Yakushima Island - a WorldHeritage Site - and the Kurobe Gorge havebeen serving the same function for tourists. Butthe Shikoku one is unique in that a car withseveral adult passengers was pulled by a westerndog up a several-kilometer slope to the waterfall.The train service was sold to tourists by theSightseeing Railways, which was founded andrun by a cooperative association of the ownersof a local mountain and forest. Even thoughthe association was approved by the Ministryof Agriculture and Forestry, it did not have a licenseissued by the Railway Supervision Bureauto operate a commercial train service. Thus, itwas an unlicensed, fake railway company.So why was it able to provide the service?The answer can be found through examinationof similar unlicensed railways operating inHokkaido at the time of its original developmentin the 1930’s. Remote mountain areaswhere regular railways were unlikely to be developedwere considered special districts, andthe bureau was lenient concerning train servicesin those areas and did not apply strictregulations there.