A Few Questions with Kozue Sanbe

Kozue Sanbe and Yuzo Sebata
I have been following Kozue-san from afar via social media. Her role in our tenkara community visiting Japan is also important. Her presence in the Bansho as I visited Tadami was felt and I admired her willingness to help in all the things of a travelling fisher. She assisted with meals, transportation and generally being a super guest as I visited her area so far away from home.
I purposefully kept close to her as our group stayed in the Bansho and moved to the Aizu watershed for a fishing adventure. I felt like she was helpful and kind. She does not speak English, I do not speak Japanese but I wanted her to know that I think she is special and that I appreciate her contribution to the visitors of the bansho and tenkara community.
Without going on too much about Kozue-san, let me begin.
Kozue-san driving us to the trailhead to go fishing in the Akakuzure-sawa

Adam: Kozue-san, here we are! I told you that I we would do an Interview! I have wondered about you more than a few times since I saw you in September of 2016 and I hope life finds you well.
“Will you please tell us a little bit about yourself?”
Kozue Sanbe: My name is Kozue Sanbe and I am an administrator at Tadami bansho.
Adam: I want you to know that I really appreciate what you do, your hospitality. Thank you. 
“Can you tell us, how long have you been at the bansho and fishing in the area?”
Kozue Sanbe: I have worked here for 9 years and have been tenkara fishing four years.
Adam: I enjoyed my stay at the bansho in Tadami, it was an amazing experience. I was looking around and observing the different people in the bansho and realized you were a very big help and ever present.
“What else do you do at the bansho?”
Kozue Sanbe: I am also the only sightseeing manager at the bansho.

Adam: Here in my area of the Southwestern United States, our oldest homes are about a hundred years old.
“How old is the bansho and what was it designed for?”
Kozue Sanbe: About 250 years ago, the bansho was a house built for a farmer Shoya. It is a building of the Edo period, a time when Samurai lived and stayed here. The bansho was a guard house.
Adam: Kozue-san, I interviewed Yoko Goto, it was a really fun interview. She is a really keen angler.
You are too from what I see of your pictures.
“Please tell us who taught you tenkara?”
Kozue Sanbe: Yuzo Sebata
Adam: I was given a big bag of zenmai when I got to the bansho, I know that some of the trails in the mountains around Tadami are zenmai paths
“Do you know anything about the zenmai collectors?”
Kozue Sanbe: My father made a hut on the mountain and stayed on the mountain for a month during the spring. The zenmai from spring was handed over you, zenmai collected by my father.
Adam: Sebata-san is a very keen angler, I really enjoyed watching the videos of him while we where there.
“Do you go fishing with Sebata-san? Can you tell us a story about it?”
Kozue Sanbe: I went fishing in a nearby river for three years now. Since then, I go stay in the mountains and Sebata-san taught me a lot.
Adam: There are not that many women tenkara anglers in Japan from what I understand. 
“Can you tell us the percentage?”
Kozue Sanbe: I do not know the proportion of female fishermen, but there are 50 Utsunomiya club members of the fishing association that I am in and there is only one woman.
Adam: When I go fishing, it is a chance for me to escape the stressful world of the city. I understand from talking with many anglers in your area that the old zenmai trails are overgrown and many of the youth in the area are leaving for the city.
“Are the old ways disappearing?”
Kozue Sanbe: Yes, young people are moving into cities.
Adam: I spent quite a bit of time and effort to get to Tadami to stay in the bansho and go fishing in the area. It is beautiful and I enjoyed myself so much. 
“Do you want more people to come to the area and fish?”
Kozue Sanbe: Yes, we want more people to come to this area and catch fish. The transition of the four seasons is beautiful, please come visit the bansho in Tadami.
Adam: I just went fishing this morning and caught a couple of fish with a friend. We went fishing in the city in man made ponds with fish that were put there for fishing. It is very convenient and we do it in the winter because we do not have to drive so far.
“What do you think of things like this? In urban ponds that are in the city.”
Kozue Sanbe: I just want to walk along and fish in the stream while feeling nature. I will be happy if I can see beautiful fish.

Adam: Sanbe-san, thank you again for joining me here, I would like to wrap this up by thanking Akinori-san for his help in interpreting, thank you. I understand these interviews take time.
Tadami Bansho


  1. Is this place akin to a lodge here in the Americas? I want to go here soo bad!