Minamata Bay

Minamata Bay
Map of Minamata Bay and the Chisso factory

Minamata is a small factory town. Minamata Bay is a bay on the west coast of Kyūshū island, located in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan.[1] The bay is part of the larger Shiranui Sea which is sandwiched between the coast of the Kyūshū mainland and the off-lying islands of Kumamoto and Nagasaki prefectures.

The coastline is rugged, with many inlets and coves which act as the spawning grounds of fish and shellfish. A great variety of creatures live in this area.

Minamata Bay was heavily polluted in the 1950s and 1960s by wastewater, mixed with mercury dumped into Hyakken Harbour from the Chisso Corporation's factory in Minamata, particularly by methylmercury. The highly toxic compound bioaccumulated in fish and shellfish in the bay which, when eaten by the people living around the bay, gave rise to Minamata disease. More than 10,000 people were affected.

A memorial service was held at the Minamata Disease Municipal Museum on 1 May 2006 to mark 50 years since the official discovery of the disease. Despite bad weather the service was attended by over 600 people, including Chisso chairman Shunkichi Goto and Environment Minister Yuriko Koike.[2]

The poisoning of Minamata Bay had a large impact on Japanese culture as well. Hayao Miyazaki used this event as inspiration to create his epic Manga (1982-1994) and later Anime Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984). According to Dani Cavallaro's book, The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki, "The Minamata Bay fish are unquestonably the real-life correlatives for the immensely and ingeniously adaptable fictitious plants portrayed in Miyazaki's film."


  1. ^ Google Map
  2. ^ "Memorial service marks Minamata tragedy's 50th year", Japan Times, 2 May 2006, retrieved 29 October 2006 (free registration required)

Coordinates: 32°12′26″N 130°23′51″E / 32.2073°N 130.3976°E / 32.2073; 130.3976

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Minamata Bay — noun a bay on the west coast of Kyushu; in the 1950s industrial wastes caused mercury poisoning among the Japanese people who ate fish from Minamata Bay • Instance Hypernyms: ↑bay, ↑embayment • Part Holonyms: ↑Kyushu …   Useful english dictionary

  • Minamata disease — Classification and external resources The crippled hand of a Minamata disease victim ICD 10 T56.1 …   Wikipedia

  • Minamata disease compensation agreements of 1959 — Main article: Minamata disease The Minamata disease compensation agreements of 1959 were agreed between the polluting Chisso company and representative groups of fishermen and Minamata disease patients who had been affected by mercury pollution.… …   Wikipedia

  • Minamata disease — A disorder caused by methyl mercury poisoning that was first described in the inhabitants of Minamata Bay, Japan and resulted from their eating fish contaminated with mercury industrial waste. The disease is characterized by peripheral sensory… …   Medical dictionary

  • Minamata — /mɪnəˈmatə/ (say minuh mahtuh) noun a city in south western Japan, on a bay on the west coast of Kyushu island; industrial pollution of the bay by chemical wastewater from the 1930s onwards led to cases of severe mercury poisoning known as… …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Minamata — ▪ Japan       city, Kumamoto ken (prefecture), southeastern Kyushu, Japan, on Yatsushiro Bay. A company town of the Nippon Chisso Hiryo Company, its main products are chemical fertilizer, carbide, and vinyl chloride. Minamata was traditionally a… …   Universalium

  • Minamata disease — /min euh mah teuh/, Pathol. a severe form of mercury poisoning, characterized by neurological degeneration. [after Minamata Bay, Japan, where fish containing alkyl mercury compounds caused the disease in those who ate them during the period 1953… …   Universalium

  • Minamata disease — Min•a•ma′ta disease [[t]ˌmɪn əˈmɑ tə[/t]] n. pat a severe form of mercury poisoning characterized by neurological degeneration • Etymology: after Minamata Bay, Japan, source of fish poisoning in 1953–58 …   From formal English to slang

  • Minamata disease — noun a form of mercury poisoning among people who ate fish from mercury contaminated waters of Minamata Bay off Japan in the 1950s; characterized by severe neurological degeneration • Hypernyms: ↑mercury poisoning …   Useful english dictionary

  • Minamata, Kumamoto — Minamata 水俣市   City   …   Wikipedia

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