Kitakyūshū facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
City of Kitakyushu
Designated city
Clockwise from top: the Riverwalk shopping center; Kokura Castle; Mojiko Station; the former Higashida blast furnace; a night view of Kokura from Mount Adachi; the Tanga Market in Kokura
Clockwise from top: the Riverwalk shopping center; Kokura Castle; Mojiko Station; the former Higashida blast furnace; a night view of Kokura from Mount Adachi; the Tanga Market in Kokura
Country Japan
Region Kyushu
Area
 • Total 491.95 km2 (189.94 sq mi)
Population
 • Total 945,061 (April 2,018)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)

Kitakyushu is one of two designated cities in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, together with Fukuoka, with a population of just under 1 million people.

History

Hesaki Light
Hesaki lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in Japan

Kokura Prefecture was founded separately from Fukuoka Prefecture in 1871 when the clan system was abolished. The old wooden-built Kokura Prefectural Office is still standing and is being restored. It is opposite Riverwalk Kitakyūshū. In 1876, Kokura Prefecture was absorbed by Fukuoka Prefecture. The city of Kokura was founded in 1900.

The city of Kitakyushu was founded on February 10, 1963 and was designated on April 1, 1963 by government ordinance.

The city was born from the merger of five municipalities (Moji, Kokura, Tobata, Yahata and Wakamatsu) centered around the ancient feudal city of Kokura. The city's symbol mark is a flower with the character in the middle and five petals representing the towns that merged.

World War II

Mk4 Fat Man bomb
The Fat Man bomb

Yahata in Kitakyushu was the target for the beginning of the US bombing raids on the home islands on June 16, 1944, when 75 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses flew out from mainland China.

Kokura was the primary target of the nuclear weapon "Fat Man" on August 9, 1945. Major Charles Sweeney had orders to drop the bomb visually. All three attempts failed due to clouds and smoke from Yahata, which is only 7 km west of Kokura and had air raids on the previous day, preventing him from identifying the target clearly. Additionally, a smoke screen was created by industrial workers burning barrels of coal tar and/or electric plant workers releasing steam. The bomb was ultimately dropped on the city of Nagasaki, the secondary target, at 11:02 JST.

Culture

Koneko Monogatari poster

The 1986 family movie Koneko Monogatari was filmed here. The English version of the film, which is the story of the friendship of a kitten and a pug dog, was released in America in 1989 as The Adventures of Milo and Otis.

The 1958 comedy Rickshaw Man is based on a local folk hero of Kokura called Muhomatsu or "Wild Pine" and has been called the Japanese "Desperado." He is celebrated in the Kokura Gion Yamagasa festival.

Kitakyushu is featured in the late 2012 Call of Duty: Black Ops II game developed by Treyarch and published by Activision as a DLC map called Magma.

In the map the city has been abandoned due to a volcanic eruption, and parts of the city are completely covered in lava.

Festivals

There are festivals held in the summer in the city, including the Tobata Gion Yamagasa festival in Tobata-ku, Kitakyūshū, below is a list of a few which attract interest - all the Gion festivals date back about 400 years. They were instituted to celebrate surviving an epidemic.

Mikoshi parade, Japan
Men wait for the start of the shrine-carrying parade - Kitakyushu, Japan
Tobatagion Floats with decorated flags
Tobatagion Floats with decorated flags - Kitakyushu, Japan
見送り
Tobata Gion
Green Park Flea Market

There are over 200 shops.

Kurosaki Gion (July)

It has been designated as an intangible cultural asset of Fukuoka Prefecture. People spin highly decorated “battle floats” as they pull them through the streets

Tobata Gion (July)

People carry yamagasa (tiered floats decorated with flags by day and lanterns by night) on their shoulders

Kokura Gion (July)

People pull yamagasa parade floats along the street

Moji Minato Festival (May)

This port-city festival involves colorfully costumed people pulling floats through the streets

Wakamatsu Minato Festival (July)

This port-city festival celebrates fire, drums, and kappa (mythical amphibious creatures who love cucumbers).

Wasshoi Hyakuman Festival (August)

The Wasshoi Hyakuman Natsumatsuri brings all the festivals together for a grand parade and finale near City Hall in Kokura Kita ward.

Kitakyushu was formed by the merging of Kokura, Yahata, Wakamatsu, Moji, and Tobata. As a result, the city began, on its tenth anniversary, to combine these local festivals into one. On the 25th anniversary, it was renamed Wasshoi Hyakuman because the city population had reached one million.

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