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Gunma Prefecture

Prefectures of Japan Gunma

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.

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.

Prefectures of Japan Gunma

Gunma Prefecture

 

群馬県
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese 群馬県
 • Rōmaji Gunma-ken

Prefectures of Japan Gunma

Flag

Official logo of Gunma Prefecture

Symbol
Location of Gunma Prefecture
Country 23px Flag of Japan.svg Japan
Region Kantō
Island Honshu
Capital Maebashi
Subdivisions Districts: 7, Municipalities: 35

Government

 
 • Governor Ichita Yamamoto

Area

 
 • Total 6,362.28 km2 (2,456.49 sq mi)
Area rank 21st

Population

 (October 1, 2019)
 • Total 1,937,626
 • Rank 18th
 • Density 300/km2 (790/sq mi)
ISO 3166 code JP-10
Website www.pref.gunma.jp
 
Symbols
Bird Copper pheasant (Phasianus soemmerringii)
Fish Sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis)
Flower Japanese azalea (Rhododendron japonicum)
Tree Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii)

History

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.[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

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
See also: List of cities in Gunma Prefecture by population

Twelve cities are located in Gunma Prefecture:

Annaka
Fujioka
Isesaki
Kiryū
Maebashi (capital)
Midori
Numata
Ōta
Shibukawa
Takasaki
Tatebayashi
Tomioka

Towns and villages

These are the towns and villages in each district:

Agatsuma District
Higashiagatsuma
Kusatsu
Naganohara
Nakanojō
Takayama
Tsumagoi
Kanra District
Kanra
Nanmoku
Shimonita

Kitagunma District
Shintō
Yoshioka
Ōra District
Chiyoda
Itakura
Meiwa
Ōizumi
Ōra
Sawa District
Tamamura

Tano District
Kanna
Ueno
Tone District
Katashina
Kawaba
Minakami
Shōwa

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).

Kiyoshi Ogawa, a Kamikaze pilot who led the attack on the USS Bunker Hill was born in Gunma.
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)

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

Education

Universities

Isesaki
Jobu University – Isesaki Campus
Tokyo University of Social Welfare – Isesaki Campus
Maebashi
Gunma University
Maebashi Institute of Technology
Midori
Kiryu University
Ota
Kanto Gakuen University
Takasaki
Takasaki City University of Economics
Takasaki University of Commerce
Takasaki University of Health and Welfare
Gunma Paz College
Jobu University -Takasaki Campus
Tamamura
Gunma Prefectural Women’s University

Sports

The sports teams listed below are based in Gunma.
Baseball

Gunma Diamond Pegasus

Football (soccer)

Thespakusatsu Gunma (Kusatsu)
Tonan Maebashi (Maebashi)

Rugby

Panasonic Wild Knights (Ota)

Basketball

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.

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:

Lake Nozori
Hara Museum Arc
Ikaho Sistina Trick Art Museum
Mount Haruna
Kusatsu Alpine-Plant Museum
Kusatsu Hot-Spring Museum
Mount Kusatsu-Shirane
Mount Tanigawa
Mount Akagi
Mount Myōgi
The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma

Transportation

Rail

JR East
Joetsu Shinkansen
Hokuriku Shinkansen
Takasaki Line
Shinetsu Line (Takasaki-Yokokawa)
Joetsu Line
Agatsuma Line
Ryomo Line
Hachiko Line (Kuragano-Hachioji)
Tobu Railway
Isesaki Line
Nikko Line (Itakura Tōyōdai-mae Station)
Sano Line
Kiryu Line
Joshin Electric Railway (Takasaki-Shimonita)
Jomo Electric Railway (Chuo Maebashi-Nishi Kiryu)
Watarase Keikoku Railway Watarase Keikoku Line

Roads
Expressways

Kan-Etsu Expressway
Tōhoku Expressway
Jōshin-etsu Expressway
Kita-Kantō Expressway (Takasaki-Hitachinaka)

National highways

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

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.

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