Lifting a framed, yellowing photograph off the wall of his tatami-floored living room, Hideo Shimoju points toward the right edge of the monochromatic image to where his family’s sawmill and workers’ tenement houses were standing nearly a century ago, by the banks of the Naka River.

This was before the great floods of 1938 swept away his grandfather’s factory, driving the business into near bankruptcy.

“The region has since suffered multiple floods of the Naka, most recently in 2019,” explains Shimoju as he recalls his family history with a mixture of bittersweet nostalgia and pride.