| Umi to Jûjika is one of the fine historical stories for children published in 1972, about the beginning of Tokugawa era, when Japan was going to close the country and oppress Christians.|
Two boys, Ita and Yasuke, stow away on a ship and they are brought to Macao. They meet Mathias, a Japanese Christian there. Each of them has their own dream in their lives. Later, Ita and Yasuke are hurriedly sent back to Japan. Later, Mathias comes to Japan as a monk. In Japan, the oppression of Christians has already begun. Mathias is given a mission to carry money for the Christians exiled to Tsugaru, now Aomori prefecture. Mathias and Ita successfully arrive at Tsugaru after a hard journey. When Ita comes back to Edo, he becomes a successful seaman with money provided by Yasuke. Ita finds out that Yasuke got the money in return for informing about Mathias to the government. Ita feels guilty about the death caused by Yasuke's betrayal, and he tries to save Mathias in Tsugaru. He insists to stay at Tsugaru as a monk, in spite of Ita's persuasion. Ita let the Christians in Tsugaru on a ship and left for Macau. When the ship leaves Japan, Ita's eyes are filled with tears.
The friendship and conflict among three boys is the exile of this story. The swift movement of the story with an historical element attracts readers. At the same time, it deals with the universal question such as how people should live, or what is the freedom of religion. This work is, as a contemporary critic said, written in the way of literature for adults, and, in the character of the three boys, it has elements of a book for children.
Umi to Jûjika is the first book of Minagawa Hiroko (1930 -). Later she wrote many books in various genres such as fantasy, mystery, and the historical novel. She received the Naoki Sanjûgo Award in 1985 with a collection of stories for adult readers, Koibeni [Crimson of Love].