Gunma

by Buddy Lindsey

Gunma

Note/Disclaimer: This is a post that is meant to give a quick overview of some of Gunma and not full detail of everything. Gunma is much like a state in the US with a rich past, present, and future to come. I can’t possibly cover everything and getting the tip of everything would be a book.

Name: Gunma
Island: Honshū
Population: 2,014,608
Capital: Maebashi
Major Cities: Annaka, Fujioka Isesaki, Kiryū, Midori, Numata, Ōta, Shibukawa, Takasaki, Tatebayashi, Tomioka

History

The Nitta clan, made up of Samurai, were the driving force in shaping society in the early recorded days of the Gunma area. However, they fell to the Kamakura shogunate and soon became a dominant area for clans to battle over territory disputs about the area. Finally the Tokugawa Shogunate succeeded in reunifying the nation and saw the Gunma area (aka Kozuke District) as a strategically important area because it was a transportation hub of the region and refused let the local feudal lords run the area.

Gunma Prefecture officially became Gunma Prefecture in 1871. The main industry was sericulture and silk. Plus it continued to be a main area of transportation of the region and helped it to modernize quickly. Several rails and highways from across Japan go right through Gunma Prefecture making it an ideal place for industry.

Culture

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 also has a lot of festivals to enjoy throughout the year. It seems that Gunma loves to celebrate just about anything. Here is a list of their major festivals.

  • Shorinzan Daruma-ichi/Shorinzan Daruma Fair [Takasaki City]
  • Harukoma Matsuri/Harukoma Festival [Kawaba Village]
  • Ohinagayu/Doll Festival [Ueno Village]
  • Ansei Toashi/Ansei Marathon [Annaka City & Matsuida Town]
  • Himuro no Sekku/Seasonal Festival [Kusatsu Town]
  • Maebashi Tanabata Festival/The Star Festival [Maebashi City]
  • Numata Matsuri/Numata Festival [Numata City]
  • Kiryu Yagibushi Matsuri/Kiryu Yagibushi Festival [Kiryu City]
  • Hitoboshi/Fire-lighting Festival [Nanmoku Village]
  • Yassa Matsuri/Yassa Festival [Minakami Town]
  • Kanto Kikka Taikai/Kanto Chrysanthemums Exhibition [Ota City]

Climate

In the plains of the south there is a lot of rain in the summer with little in the winter. However, in the north there is a lot during winter and summer. There is also kara-kaze or ‘The Dry Winds’ which is a strong dry wind that is in the winter when the snow falls during the winter.

March-May : 13.1 C
June-August : 24.7 C
September-November : 17.4 C
December-February : 5.9 C

Interesting Facts

The remains of a Paleolithic man were found at Iwajuku, Gunma Prefecture, in the early 20th century and there is a public museum there.
Japan was without horses until around the early centuries AD, and present-day Gunma was a center of the horse breeding and trading activities when continental peoples and Japanese began a strong trade in the animals.
The first modern silk factories were built with Italian and French assistance at Annaka in the 1870s.

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