Girls Who Crossed Nomugi Pass

The Nomugi Mountain Pass is at the boundary of Gifu and Nagano Prefectures. It has been a very important pass connecting Hida to the Shinshu Region, and thereby Edo, the capital. In the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) Periods, thousands of girls went over the pass to work at silk-reeling factories. The working conditions were so severe that a novel called “Ah! Nomugi Toge” was written by Yamamoto Shigemi in 1968 in praise of the stalwartness of the girls. The heroine of the novel, Masai Mine, was one of 100 young girls who crossed the treacherous pass in 1903.