Gunma Prefecture

Last updated
Gunma Prefecture

群馬県
Japanese transcription(s)
   Japanese 群馬県
   Rōmaji Gunma-ken
Flag of Gunma Prefecture.svg
Flag
Symbol of Gunma Prefecture.svg
Symbol
Map of Japan with highlight on 10 Gunma prefecture.svg
CountryFlag of Japan.svg  Japan
Region Kantō
Island Honshu
Capital Maebashi
Subdivisions Districts: 7, Municipalities: 35
Government
   Governor Ichita Yamamoto
Area
  Total6,362.28 km2 (2,456.49 sq mi)
Area rank 21st
Population
 (October 1, 2019)
  Total1,937,626
  Rank 18th
  Density300/km2 (790/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code JP-10
Website www.pref.gunma.jp
Symbols
BirdCopper pheasant (Phasianus soemmerringii)
Fish Sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis)
FlowerJapanese azalea (Rhododendron japonicum)
TreeJapanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii)

Gunma Prefecture (群馬県, Gunma-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kantō region of Honshu. [1] Gunma Prefecture has a population of 1,937,626 (1 October 2019) and has a geographic area of 6,362 km2 (2,456 sq mi). Gunma Prefecture borders Niigata Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture to the north, Nagano Prefecture to the southwest, Saitama Prefecture to the south, and Tochigi Prefecture to the east.

Contents

Maebashi is the capital and Takasaki is the largest city of Gunma Prefecture, with other major cities including Ōta, Isesaki, and Kiryū. [2] Gunma Prefecture is one of only eight landlocked prefectures, located northwestern corner of the Kantō Plain with 14% of its total land being designated as Natural Parks.

History

The ancient province of Gunma was a center of horsebreeding and trading activities for the newly immigrated continental peoples. The arrival of horses and the remains of horse-tackle coincides with the arrival of a large migration from the mainland. From this point forward, the horse became a vital part of Japanese military maneuvers, quickly displacing the older Yayoi tradition of fighting on foot.

When Mount Haruna erupted in the late 6th century, Japan was still in the pre-historical phase (prior to the importation of the Chinese writing system during the Nara period). The Gunma Prefectural archaeology unit in 1994 was able to date the eruption through zoological anthropology at the corral sites that were buried in ash.

In the past, Gunma was joined with Tochigi Prefecture and called Kenu Province . This was later divided into Kami-tsu-ke (Upper Kenu, Gunma) and Shimo-tsu-ke (Lower Kenu, Tochigi). The area is sometimes referred to as Jomo (上毛, Jōmō). For most of Japanese history, Gunma was known as the province of Kozuke. [3]

In the early period of contact between western nations and Japan, particularly the late Tokugawa, it was referred to by foreigners as the "Joushu States", inside (fudai, or loyalist) Tokugawa retainers and the Tokugawa family symbol is widely seen on public buildings, temples and shrines.

The first modern silk factories were built with Italian and French assistance at Annaka in the 1870s.

In the early Meiji period, in what was locally called the Gunma Incident of 1884, a bloody struggle between the idealistic democratic westernizers and the conservative Prussian-model nationalists took place in Gunma and neighboring Nagano. The modern Japanese army gunned down farmers with new repeating rifles built in Japan. The farmers in Gunma were said to be the first victims of the Murata rifle.

In the twentieth century, the Japanese aviation pioneer Nakajima Chikushi of Oizumi, Gunma Prefecture, founded the Nakajima Aircraft Company. At first, he produced mostly licensed models of foreign designs, but beginning with the all-Japanese Nakajima 91 fighter plane in 1931, his company became a world leader in aeronautical design and manufacture, with its headquarters at Ota, Gunma Ken. The factory now produces Subaru motorcars and other products under the name of Subaru née Fuji Heavy Industries.

In the 1930s, German architect Bruno Julius Florian Taut lived and conducted research for a while in Takasaki.

The Girard incident, which disturbed US-Japanese relations in the 1950s, occurred in Gunma in 1957, at Soumagahara Base near Shibukawa.

Four modern prime ministers are from Gunma, namely, Takeo Fukuda, Yasuhiro Nakasone, Keizo Obuchi, and Yasuo Fukuda, the son of Takeo.

Geography

Map of Gunma Prefecture
City Town Village Map of Gunma Prefecture Ja.svg
Map of Gunma Prefecture
     City     Town     Village
Maebashi View from Gunma Prefectural Government Building east.jpg
Maebashi
Takasaki Karasu River and Usui River survey.jpg
Takasaki
Ota View from Ota city office south.jpg
Ōta

One of only eight landlocked prefectures in Japan, Gunma is the northwesternmost prefecture of the Kantō plain. Except for the central and southeast areas, where most of the population is concentrated, it is mostly mountainous. To the north are Niigata and Fukushima prefectures, while to the east lies Tochigi Prefecture. To the west lies the Nagano Prefecture, and the Saitama Prefecture is to the south.

Some of the major mountains in Gunma are Mount Akagi, Mount Haruna, Mount Myōgi, Mount Nikkō-Shirane and Mount Asama, which is located on the Nagano border. Major rivers include the Tone River, the Agatsuma River, and the Karasu River.

As of 1 April 2012, 14% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely Jōshin'etsu-kōgen, Nikkō, and Oze National Parks and Myōgi-Arafune-Saku Kōgen Quasi-National Park. [4]

Cities

Twelve cities are located in Gunma Prefecture:

Towns and villages

These are the towns and villages in each district:

Mergers

Climate

Mount Nakanodake viewed from Mount Shibutsu Mt.Nakanodake from Mt.Shibutsu 01.jpg
Mount Nakanodake viewed from Mount Shibutsu

Because Gunma is situated in inland Japan, the difference in temperature in the summer compared to the winter is large, and there is less precipitation. This is because of the kara-kaze ("empty wind"), a strong, dry wind which occurs in the winter when the snow falls on the coasts of Niigata. The wind carrying clouds with snow are obstructed by the Echigo Mountains, and it also snows there, although the high peaks do not let the wind go past them. For this reason, the wind changes into the kara-kaze.

Economy

Gunma's modern industries include transport equipment and electrical equipment, concentrated around Maebashi and the eastern region nearest Tokyo. More traditional industries include sericulture and agriculture. Gunma's major agricultural products include cabbages and konjacs. Gunma produces 90% of Japan's konjacs, and two-thirds of the farms in the village of Tsumagoi are cabbage farms. Also, the city of Ōta is famous for car industry, notably the Subaru factory.

Culture

Gunma has a traditional card game called Jomo Karuta (上毛かるた).

Melody Roads

As of 2018, Gunma is home to eleven of Japan's over thirty Melody Roads. 2,559 grooves cut into a 175-meter stretch of the road surface in transmit a tactile vibration through the wheels into the car body. [5] [6] [7] The roads can be found in Katashina, Minakami, Takayama, Kanna, Ueno, Kusatsu, Tsumagoi, Nakanojo, Takasaki, Midori, and Maebashi. Each is of a differing length and plays a different song. Naganohara also used to be home to a Melody Road playing “Aj, lučka lučka siroka”, though the road in question was paved over in 2013 due to noise complaints.

Songs

  • Kusatsu - “Kusatsu-Bushi”
  • Takayama - “When You Wish Upon a Star”
  • Tsumagoi - “Oh My Darling Clementine”
  • Nakanojo - “Always With Me” (Japanese title: いつも何度でも, itsumo nando demo) from Spirited Away when driven at 40 km/h
  • Katashina - “Memories of Summer” when driven over at 50 km/h

List of governors of Gunma Prefecture (1947–present)

GovernorTerm startTerm end
Shigeo Kitano (北野重雄)12 April 194725 June 1948
Yoshio Iyoku (伊能芳雄)10 August 19484 July 1952
Shigeo Kitano2 August 19521 August 1956
Toshizo Takekoshi (竹腰俊蔵)2 August 19561 August 1960
Konroku Kanda (神田坤六)2 August 19601 August 1976
Ichiro Shimizu (清水一郎)2 August 197612 June 1991
Hiroyuki Kodera (小寺弘之)28 July 199127 July 2007
Masaaki Osawa (大澤正明)28 July 2007present

Education

Universities

Sports

Shoda Shoyu Stadium Gunma, home of Thespakusatsu Gunma. Shikishima rikujo 2.JPG
Shoda Shoyu Stadium Gunma, home of Thespakusatsu Gunma.

The sports teams listed below are based in Gunma.

Baseball

Football (soccer)

Rugby

Basketball

Gunma is also famous for its ski resorts in the mountains.

Gunma was the only prefecture in Japan to have all 4 legal types of gambling on races: horse, bicycle, auto and boat. This changed with the closing of the last horse race track in Takasaki in 2004.

Tourism

Gunma has many hot spring resorts and the most famous is Kusatsu Onsen. Another draw to the mountainous Gunma is the ski resorts.

Other attractions include:

Transportation

Rail

Roads

Expressways

National highways

Prefectural symbols

The prefectural symbol consists of the first kanji of the word 'Gunma' surrounded by three stylized mountains symbolizing the three important mountains of Gunma Prefecture: Mount Haruna, Mount Akagi, and Mount Myōgi.

For marketing, the Prefectural Government also uses Gunma-chan, a small super deformed drawing of a gendered horse character wearing a green cap. It is used on promotional posters, banners and other notable printed materials from the Prefectural Government. Other agencies and companies formally or informally use variations of its likeness and other horse-shaped characters when making signs or notices for work on buildings, roads, and other public notices.

Notes

  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Gumma-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 267 , p. 267, at Google Books; "Kantō" in p. 479 , p. 479, at Google Books.
  2. Nussbaum, "Maebashi" in p. 600 , p. 600, at Google Books.
  3. Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in p. 470 , p. 470, at Google Books.
  4. "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  5. Johnson, Bobbie (13 November 2007). "Japan's melody roads play music as you drive". The Guardian . Farringdon Road, London, England: GMG. p. 19 (International section). Retrieved 20 October 2008.
  6. "Your car as a musical instrument – Melody Roads". Noise Addicts. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2008.
  7. "Singing Roads – Take a Musical Trip in Japan". ITN. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2008.

Related Research Articles

Shibukawa, Gunma City in Kantō, Japan

Shibukawa is a city in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 August 2020, the city had an estimated population of 76,098 in 32,439 households, and a population density of 320 inhabitants per square kilometre (830/sq mi). The total area of the city is 240.27 square kilometres (92.77 sq mi). Shibukawa is the location of Ikaho Onsen, a popular hot spring resort.

Annaka, Gunma City in Kantō, Japan

Annaka is a city located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 July 2020, the city had an estimated population of 47,911 in 24,749 households, and a population density of 210 persons per km². The total area of the city is 276.31 square kilometres (106.68 sq mi).

Ōta, Gunma Special city in Kantō, Japan

Ōta is a city located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 August 2020, the city had an estimated population of 224,358 in 109,541 households, and a population density of 1300 persons per km². The total area of the city is 60.97 square kilometres (23.54 sq mi).

Mount Haruna Volcano in Japan

Mount Haruna is a dormant stratovolcano in Gunma, eastern Honshū, Japan.

Shimonita, Gunma Town in Kantō, Japan

Shimonita is a town located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 August 2020, the town had an estimated population of 7,058 in 3292 households, and a population density of 37 persons per km². The total area of the town is 188.38 square kilometres (72.73 sq mi). Shimonita is famous for its konjac and Welsh onion.

Naganohara Town in Kantō, Japan

Naganohara is a town located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 January 2020, the town had an estimated population of 5,495 in 5630 households, and a population density of 41 persons per km². The total area of the town is 133.85 square kilometres (51.68 sq mi). The controversial Yanba Dam project is located within Naganohara.

Tsumagoi Village in Kantō, Japan

Tsumagoi is a village located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 September 2020, the village had an estimated population of 9,546 in 3999 households, and a population density of 28 persons per km². The total area of the village is 337.51 square kilometres (130.31 sq mi).

Minakami, Gunma Town in Kantō, Japan

Minakami is a town located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 October 2020, the town had an estimated population of 18,383 in 7938 households, and a population density of 24 persons per km². The total area of the town is 781.08 square kilometres (301.58 sq mi). Much of the town is within the borders of Jōshin'etsu-kōgen National Park.

Mount Akagi Mountain in Japan

Mount Akagi is a mountain in Gunma Prefecture, Japan.

Ryōmō Line Railway line in Japan

The Ryōmō Line is a Japanese railway line connecting Oyama in Tochigi Prefecture with Maebashi in Gunma Prefecture. 84.4 km (52.4 mi) long, the line is owned and operated by the East Japan Railway Company. The name refers to the fact that Gunma and Tochigi prefectures were once part of an ancient province called Keno (毛野), which was later split into Kōzuke (Gunma) and Shimotsuke (Tochigi). This line connects both halves of the old province.

Midori, Gunma City in Kantō, Japan

Midori is a city located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 August 2020, the city had an estimated population of :50,266 in 21,028 households, and a population density of 240 persons per km². The total area of the city is 208.42 square kilometres (80.47 sq mi).

Maebashi Core city in Kantō, Japan

Maebashi is the capital city of Gunma Prefecture, in the northern Kantō region of Japan. As of 31 August 2020, the city had an estimated population of 335,352 in 151,171 households, and a population density of 1100 persons per km2. The total area of the city is 311.59 km2 (120.31 sq mi). It was the most populous city within Gunma Prefecture until Takasaki merged with nearby towns between 2006 and 2009. Maebashi is known to be the "City of Water, Greenery and Poets" because of its pure waters, its rich nature and because it gave birth to several Japanese contemporary poets, such as Sakutarō Hagiwara.

Takasaki Core city in Kantō, Japan

Takasaki is a city located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 August 2020, the city had an estimated population of 372,369 in 167,345 households, and a population density of 810 persons per km². The total area of the city is 459.16 square kilometres (177.28 sq mi). Takasaki is famous as the hometown of the Daruma doll, theoretically representing the Buddhist sage Bodhidharma and in modern practice a symbol of good luck. Making the largest city on prefecture (1990) after beating the Maebashi.

Kiryū, Gunma City in Kantō, Japan

Kiryū is a city located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 July 2020, the city had an estimated population of 108,991 in 49,745 households, and a population density of 400 persons per km2. The total area of the city is 274.45 square kilometres (105.97 sq mi).

Isesaki Special city in Kantō, Japan

Isesaki is a city located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 September 2020, the city had an estimated population of 213,303 in 91,789 households, and a population density of 1500 persons per km². The total area of the city is 139.44 square kilometres (53.84 sq mi).

Japan National Route 18

National Route 18 is a national highway connecting Takasaki, Gunma and Joetsu, Niigata in Japan. A section of the highway is designated as a part of the Japan Romantic Road.

Jōshin-etsu Expressway

The Jōshin-etsu Expressway is a national expressway in Japan. It is owned and operated by East Nippon Expressway Company.

Jōshinetsu region

The Jōshin'etsu region is a region on the main Japanese island of Honshu, comprising parts of Gunma, Nagano, and Niigata Prefectures. It is a mountainous area with a large national park and numerous hot springs and ski resorts. It has long been a transportation corridor between the Kantō plain and coastal areas on the Japan Sea side of the island.

References

Coordinates: 36°22′N139°7′E / 36.367°N 139.117°E / 36.367; 139.117