Prefectures of Japan Gunma
Is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kantō region of Honshu. 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.
Maebashi is the capital and Takasaki is the largest city of Gunma Prefecture, with other major cities including Ōta, Isesaki, and Kiryū. 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.
Prefectures of Japan Gunma
|Subdivisions||Districts: 7, Municipalities: 35|
|• Governor||Ichita Yamamoto|
|• Total||6,362.28 km2 (2,456.49 sq mi)|
(October 1, 2019)
|• Density||300/km2 (790/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||JP-10|
Prefectures of Japan Gunma
See also: Historic Sites of Gunma Prefecture
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.
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.
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.Cities
See also: List of cities in Gunma Prefecture by population
Twelve cities are located in Gunma Prefecture:
Towns and villages
These are the towns and villages in each district:
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.
Gunma has a traditional card game called Jomo Karuta (上毛かるた).
Kiyoshi Ogawa, a Kamikaze pilot who led the attack on the USS Bunker Hill was born in Gunma.
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. 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.
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)
Governor Term start Term end
Shigeo Kitano (北野重雄) 12 April 1947 25 June 1948
Yoshio Iyoku (伊能芳雄) 10 August 1948 4 July 1952
Shigeo Kitano 2 August 1952 1 August 1956
Toshizo Takekoshi (竹腰俊蔵) 2 August 1956 1 August 1960
Konroku Kanda (神田坤六) 2 August 1960 1 August 1976
Ichiro Shimizu (清水一郎) 2 August 1976 12 June 1991
Hiroyuki Kodera (小寺弘之) 28 July 1991 27 July 2007
Masaaki Osawa (大澤正明) 28 July 2007 present
Jobu University – Isesaki Campus
Tokyo University of Social Welfare – Isesaki Campus
Maebashi Institute of Technology
Kanto Gakuen University
Takasaki City University of Economics
Takasaki University of Commerce
Takasaki University of Health and Welfare
Gunma Paz College
Jobu University -Takasaki Campus
Gunma Prefectural Women’s University
The sports teams listed below are based in Gunma.
Gunma Diamond Pegasus
Thespakusatsu Gunma (Kusatsu)
Tonan Maebashi (Maebashi)
Panasonic Wild Knights (Ota)
Gunma Crane Thunders
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.
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:
Hara Museum Arc
Ikaho Sistina Trick Art Museum
Kusatsu Alpine-Plant Museum
Kusatsu Hot-Spring Museum
The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma
Shinetsu Line (Takasaki-Yokokawa)
Hachiko Line (Kuragano-Hachioji)
Nikko Line (Itakura Tōyōdai-mae Station)
Joshin Electric Railway (Takasaki-Shimonita)
Jomo Electric Railway (Chuo Maebashi-Nishi Kiryu)
Watarase Keikoku Railway Watarase Keikoku Line
Kita-Kantō Expressway (Takasaki-Hitachinaka)
National Route 17 (Nihonbashi of Tokyo-Saitama-Kumagaya-Takasaki-Shibukawa-Ojiya-Nagaoka)
National Route 18 (Takasaki-Annaka-Karuizawa-Komoro-Nagano-Myoko-Joetsu)
National Route 50 (Maebashi-Isesaki-Oyama-Yuki-Mito)
National Route 120
National Route 122
National Route 144
National Route 145
National Route 146
National Route 254
National Route 291
National Route 292
National Route 299
National Route 353
National Route 354
National Route 405
National Route 406
National Route 407
National Route 462
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.
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