Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Fukuoka (福岡市; -shi) is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture and is situated on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu in Japan, across the Korea Strait from South Korea's Busan. It is the most populous city in Kyushu, followed by Kitakyushu, together with which it forms the Fukuoka-Kitakyushu metropolitan area. The city was designated on April 1, 1972 by government ordinance and has been Kyushu's economic and cultural center since the 1930s.
Fukuoka is served by Fukuoka Airport, the Sanyo Shinkansen high speed rail line at Hakata Station and by ferry. JR Kyushu operates a hydrofoil between Hakata and Busan, South Korea. The subway opened a new line, the Nanakuma line, in February 2, 2005.
Mongol invasians (1274-1281)
Fukuoka's Hakata bay is Japan's gateway to Korea and China. Gateways, of course, attract interest; after having conquered and terrorised the continent, the great Mongol Kublai Khan of the Mongol Empire turned his attention to Japan starting in 1268, exerting a new external pressure on Japan with which it had no experience. Kublai Khan first sent an envoy to Japan to make the Shogunate acknowledge Khan's suzerainty. The Kamakura Shogunate refused. Mongolia repeatedly sent envoys thereafter, each time urging the Shogunate accept their proposal, but to no avail.
In 1274 Kublai Khan mounted an invasion of the northern part of Kyushu with a fleet of 900 ships 33,000 troops, which included troops from Kogryo(current Korean peninsula). This first invasion was compromised by a combination of incompotence and storms.
After the first invasion of 1274, the Japanese samurai built a stone barrier 20 kilometers in length bordering the coast of Hakata Bay in what is now Fukuoka city. The wall, between 2-3 metres in height and having a base width of 3 metres, was constructed between 1276 and 1277 and was excavated again in the 1930s.
Kublai sent another envoy to Japan in 1279. At that time, Hojo Tokimune of the Hojo clan (1251-1284) was the Eighth Regent. Not only did he decline the offer, but he beheaded the five Mongolian emissaries after summoning them to Kamakura. Infuriated, Kublai made another attack on Fukuoka Prefecture in 1281, reinforcing the troops to 140,000 soldiers and 4,000 ships. The Japanese warriors, numbering around 40,000, were no match for Mongolians and the Kublai invasion force made it as far as Dazaifu, 15 kilometers south of the city of Fukuoka. By sheer luck, the Japanese were aided by another typhoon which struck a crushing blow to the Mongolian troops, however, and the invasian was thwarted.
It was this typhoon that was original called the Kamikaze (Divine Winds).
Formation of the modern city (1889)
Fukuoka was formerly the residence of the powerful daimyo of Chikuzen, and played a conspicuous part in the medieval history of Japan; the renowned temple of Ieyasu in the district was destroyed by fire during the Boshin war of 1868. (adapted from 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica)
The modern city was formed on April 1, 1889 with the merger of the former cities of Hakata and Fukuoka. Historically, Hakata was the port and merchant district, and as such was more associated with the area's culture: it remains the main commercial area. On the other hand, the Fukuoka area was home to many samurai, and its name has been used since Kuroda Nagamasa , the first daimyo of Chikuzen, named it after his birthplace in Okayama Prefecture. Today, the old Fukuoka is the main shopping area called Tenjin.
When Hakata and Fukuoka decided to merge, a meeting was held to decide the name for the new city. Hakata was initially chosen, but a group of samurai crashed the meeting and forced those present to choose Fukuoka as the name for the merged cities. However, Hakata is still used to refer to the Hakata area of the city, and most famously to refer to the city's train station (Hakata Station).
Fukuoka in the 20th century
- 1903: Fukuoka Medical College, a campus associated with Kyoto Imperial University, is founded. In 1911 the college is renamed to Kyushu Imperial University and established as a separate entity.
- 1910: Fukuoka streetcar service begins.
- 1929: Flights commence along the Fukuoka-Osaka-Tokyo route.
- 1945: Saturation bombing of Japanese cities commences on Honshu with Fukuoka one of the targets. Vivisections of American POWs are performed at Kyushu Imperial University Hospital.
- 1951: Fukuoka airport opens.
- 1953: Fukuoka Zoo opens.
- 1976: Subway commences service.
- 1988: Osaka's pro baseball team, the Nankai Hawks, are moved to Fukuoka and renamed the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.
- 1995: ACROS (Asian Crossroads Over the Sea), a multipurpose convention and cultural center, is founded to encourage increased relations with other Asian countries. It is located downtown in Tenjin, and features a large park, terraced gardens, a library and other facilities for encouraging peaceful relations with other Asian cultures.
Fukuoka is bordered on three sides by mountains and opens, on the north, to the Sea of Genkai. Much of the city is now built on reclaimed land, with ongoing developments in Higashi-ku building more artificial islands.
Located 1100 km from Tokyo,540 km from Seoul and 870 km from Shanghai, Fukuoka's proximity to Korea and China has led it to seek closer ties with those countries while acting as a hub for Asian cultural and economic exchange.
Along with much of the prefecture, Fukuoka City has a moderate climate with an annual average temperature of 1.63°C, average humidity of 70%, 1811 annual daylight hours and 205 cm of precipitation. Roughly 40% of the year is cloudy.
Winter temperatures rarely drop below 0°C and it is generally rainy with occasional, brief snowfalls. Spring is warm and more sunny, with Cherry blossoms appearing in late March or early April. The rainy season (tsuyu) lasts for approximately six weeks through June and July, during which time the humidity is very high and temperatures hover between 25°C and 30°C. Summers are humid and hot, with temperatures peaking around 37°C. Fall, often considered to be Fukuoka's best season, is mild and dry, though the typhoon season runs between August and September.
Fukuoka is not as seismically active as many other parts of Japan, but does experience occasional earthquakes. The most powerful recent earthquake registered a lower 6 on the Japanese intensity scale (magnitude 6.4 on the Richter scale, according to the USGS) and hit at 10:53 am local time on March 20th, 2005, killing one person and injuring more than 400. The earthquake occured along a yet-undiscovered fault in the Sea of Genkai, with Genkai-jima (Genkai island), a part of Nishi-ku , being most severely damaged by this earthquake and almost all island residents being forced to evacuate. Aftershocks continued intermittently throughout the following weeks as construction crews worked to rebuild damaged buildings throughout the city. Traditional Japanese houses, particularly in the areas of Daimyo and Imaizumi, were the most heavily damaged and many were marked for demolition. Insurance payments for damages were estimated at approximately 15.8 billion yen.
Fukuoka's other major fault, the Kego fault, runs 22 km northwest to southeast, roughly parallel to Nishitetsu's Omuta train line. It is estimated to be produce powerful earthquakes on the order of magnitude 7 (the maximum on the Japanese scale) at the epicenter approximately once every 15,000 years. If the epicenter were located at a depth of 10km, this would translate to an earthquake of a lower-6 magnitude (similar to the March 20, 2005 earthquake) in downtown Fukuoka. The probability of an earthquake along the Kego fault occuring within 30 years was estimated at 0.4% prior to the March 20, 2005 earthquake, but this probability has been revised upwards since. According to a National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology presentation April 12, 2005, if the last Kego earthquake occured 13,000 years ago, the probability of major activity within 30 years has been revised to 7%, and if it was 7,000 years ago the probability has been revised to 4%. If a an earthquake occured along the Kego fault within the last 2000 years, the risk is unchanged.
A new quake hit at 6:11 a.m. April 20th on Japan's southern main island of Kyushu, the Central Meteorological Agency reported. Officials warned of the danger of aftershocks. The agency, which initially measured the quake's magnitude at 5.7 and later revised the number to 5.8. It swayed buildings and shattered windows. Six people were treated at a hospital in Fukuoka, public broadcaster NHK reported. Major highways were closed, railway services were temporarily halted, and the runway to Fukuoka's airport closed to check for damage, NHK said. The airport later reopened. Following reports that the city has only prepared for earthquakes up to a magnitude of 6.5, the aftershock renewed fears that the Kego faultline may be active again, leading to a an earthquake as big as, or bigger than, the March 20th quake.
Fukuoka has 7 wards (ku):
As of March 2005, the city had an estimated population of 1,391,146 and a density of 4,084.40 persons per km². The total area is 340.60 km². With an average age of 38.6 years, Fukuoka is Japan's second youngest major city and with a growth rate of 4.4%, is also Japan's second-fastest growing city (based on 2000 census data).
Sky Dream Fukuoka, located in Fukuoka City's western ward, is one of the world's largest ferris wheels at a height of 120 metres(about 400 feet). Fukuoka Castle located adjacent to Ohori Koen (Park) features the remaining stone walls and ramparts left after a devastating fire during the upheaval of the Meiji Restoration. It has now been preserved along with some reconstructed prefabricate concrete towers constructed during the 1950's & 1960's, when there was a trend across Japan to rebuild damaged castles as tourist attractions.
- Kyushu University
- Kyushu Institute of Design
- Fukuoka University
- Seinan Gakuin University
- Towa University
- Kyushu Sangyo University
Fukuoka is the home of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, one of Japan's top professional baseball teams. Threatened with bankruptcy and forced by its creditors to restructure, in 2004 former owner Daiei sold the Hawks to Masayoshi Son of Softbank Capital. The team name was changed to Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks from the 2005 season.
Fukuoka is also home to a professional soccer team, Avispa Fukuoka, which is currently playing in Japan's second-tier league J2.
Fukuoka has several sister cities:
- Oakland, California, United States
- Guangzhou, China
- Bordeaux, France
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Ipoh, Malaysia
- Busan, South Korea
- Atlanta, Georgia, United States
- British Trade Promotion Office
- Fukuoka-city Online
- Fukuoka International Association
- Gateway Fukuoka
- Fukuoka City Guide: An Expat's Guide
- Fukuoka Travel Guide
- Fukuoka-Now, a Fukuoka city guide and local English language magazine
- Go-Fubar.mag, a Fukuoka English language magazine and guide
- Hakozaki Live Cam
- Fukuoka Guide, get more out of Fukuoka, Japan's mini-metro
- Fukuoka Guide Mobile
- Neomugicha Incident
- Fukuoka subway
- Fukuoka Classifieds
- 20th March 2005 Earthquake eye-witness report
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