Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
The Satsuma Rebellion or Seinan War was a revolt of disaffected samurai against the new imperial government, nine years into the Meiji Era. Its name comes from the Satsuma Domain, influential in the Restoration and became home to unemployed samurai after military reforms rendered their status obsolete; the rebellion lasted from January 29, 1877, until September of that year, when it was decisively crushed and its leader, Saigō Takamori, committed seppuku after being mortally wounded. Saigō's rebellion was the last and most serious of a series of armed uprisings against the new government of the Empire of Japan, the predecessor state to modern Japan. Although Satsuma had been one of the key players in the Meiji Restoration and the Boshin War, although many men from Satsuma had risen to influential positions in the new Meiji government, there was growing dissatisfaction with the direction the country was taking; the modernization of the country meant the abolition of the privileged social status of the samurai class, had undermined their financial position.
The rapid and massive changes to Japanese culture, language and society appeared to many samurai to be a betrayal of the jōi portion of the sonnō jōi justification used to overthrow the former Tokugawa shogunate. Saigō Takamori, one of the senior Satsuma leaders in the Meiji government who had supported the reforms in the beginning, was concerned about growing political corruption (the slogan of his rebel movement was shinsei-kōtoku. Saigō was a strong proponent of war with Korea in the Seikanron debate of 1873. At one point, he offered to visit Korea in person and to provoke a casus belli by behaving in such an insulting manner that the Koreans would be forced to kill him. Saigō expected both that a war would be successful for Japan and that the initial stages of it would offer a means by which the samurai whose cause he championed could find meaningful and beneficial death; when the plan was rejected, Saigō resigned from all of his government positions in protest and returned to his hometown of Kagoshima, as did many other Satsuma ex-samurai in the military and police forces.
To help support and employ these men, in 1874 Saigō established a private academy in Kagoshima. Soon 132 branches were established all over the prefecture; the “training” provided was not purely academic: although the Chinese classics were taught, all students were required to take part in weapons training and instruction in tactics. Saigō started an artillery school; the schools resembled paramilitary political organizations more than anything else, they enjoyed the support of the governor of Satsuma, who appointed disaffected samurai to political offices, where they came to dominate the Kagoshima government. Support for Saigō was so strong that Satsuma had seceded from the central government by the end of 1876. Word of Saigō’s academies was greeted with considerable concern in Tokyo; the government had just dealt with several small but violent samurai revolts in Kyūshū, the prospect of the numerous and fierce Satsuma samurai, being led in rebellion by the famous and popular Saigō was alarming.
In December 1876, the Meiji government sent a police officer named Nakahara Hisao and 57 other men to investigate reports of subversive activities and unrest. The men were captured, under torture, confessed that they were spies, sent to assassinate Saigō. Although Nakahara repudiated the confession, it was believed in Satsuma and was used as justification by the disaffected samurai that a rebellion was necessary in order to "protect Saigō". Fearing a rebellion, the Meiji government sent a warship to Kagoshima to remove the weapons stockpiled at the Kagoshima arsenal on January 30, 1877; this provoked open conflict, although with the elimination of samurai rice stipends in 1877, tensions were extremely high. Outraged by the government's tactics, 50 students from Saigō’s academy attacked the Somuta Arsenal and carried off weapons. Over the next three days, more than 1000 students staged raids on the naval yards and other arsenals. Presented with this sudden success, the dismayed Saigō was reluctantly persuaded to come out of his semi-retirement to lead the rebellion against the central government.
In February 1877, the Meiji government dispatched Hayashi Tomoyuki, an official with the Home Ministry with Admiral Kawamura Sumiyoshi in the warship Takao to ascertain the situation. Satsuma governor, Oyama Tsunayoshi, explained that the uprising was in response to the government's assassination attempt on Saigō, asked that Admiral Kawamura come ashore to help calm the situation. After Oyama departed, a flotilla of small ships filled with armed men attempted to board Takao by force, but were repelled; the following day, Hayashi declared to Oyama that he could not permit Kawamura to go ashore when the situation was so unsettled, that the attack on Takao constituted an act of lèse-majesté. On his return to Kobe on February 12, Hayashi met with General Yamagata Aritomo and Itō Hirobumi, it was decided that the Imperial Japanese Army would need to be sent to Kagoshima to prevent the revolt from spreading to other areas of the country sympathetic to Saigō. On the same day, Saigō met with his lieutenants Kirino Toshiaki and Shinohara Kunimoto and announced his intention of marching to Tokyo to ask questions of the government.
Rejecting large numbers of volunteers, he made no attempt to contact any of the other domains for support, no troops were left at Kagoshima to secure his base against an attack. To aid in the air of legality, Saigō wore his army uniform. Marching north, his army was hampered
Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. Hiroshima gained city status on April 1, 1889. On April 1, 1980, Hiroshima became a designated city; as of August 2016, the city had an estimated population of 1,196,274. The gross domestic product in Greater Hiroshima, Hiroshima Urban Employment Area, was US$61.3 billion as of 2010. Kazumi Matsui has been the city's mayor since April 2011. Hiroshima was the first city targeted by a nuclear weapon, when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II. Hiroshima was established on the delta coastline of the Seto Inland Sea in 1589 by powerful warlord Mōri Terumoto. Hiroshima Castle was built, in 1593 Mōri moved in. Terumoto was on the losing side at the Battle of Sekigahara; the winner of the battle, Tokugawa Ieyasu, deprived Mōri Terumoto of most of his fiefs, including Hiroshima and gave Aki Province to Masanori Fukushima, a daimyō who had supported Tokugawa.
From 1619 until 1871, Hiroshima was ruled by the Asano clan. After the Han was abolished in 1871, the city became the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture. Hiroshima became a major urban center during the imperial period, as the Japanese economy shifted from rural to urban industries. During the 1870s, one of the seven government-sponsored English language schools was established in Hiroshima. Ujina Harbor was constructed through the efforts of Hiroshima Governor Sadaaki Senda in the 1880s, allowing Hiroshima to become an important port city; the San'yō Railway was extended to Hiroshima in 1894, a rail line from the main station to the harbor was constructed for military transportation during the First Sino-Japanese War. During that war, the Japanese government moved temporarily to Hiroshima, Emperor Meiji maintained his headquarters at Hiroshima Castle from September 15, 1894, to April 27, 1895; the significance of Hiroshima for the Japanese government can be discerned from the fact that the first round of talks between Chinese and Japanese representatives to end the Sino-Japanese War was held in Hiroshima, from February 1 to February 4, 1895.
New industrial plants, including cotton mills, were established in Hiroshima in the late 19th century. Further industrialization in Hiroshima was stimulated during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, which required development and production of military supplies; the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall was constructed in 1915 as a center for trade and exhibition of new products. Its name was changed to Hiroshima Prefectural Product Exhibition Hall, again to Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. During World War I, Hiroshima became a focal point of military activity, as the Japanese government entered the war on the Allied side. About 500 German prisoners of war were held in Ninoshima Island in Hiroshima Bay; the growth of Hiroshima as a city continued after the First World War, as the city now attracted the attention of the Catholic Church, on May 4, 1923, an Apostolic Vicar was appointed for that city. During World War II, the Second General Army and Chūgoku Regional Army were headquartered in Hiroshima, the Army Marine Headquarters was located at Ujina port.
The city had large depots of military supplies, was a key center for shipping. The bombing of Tokyo and other cities in Japan during World War II caused widespread destruction and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. There were no such air raids on Hiroshima. However, a real threat was recognized. In order to protect against potential firebombings in Hiroshima, school children aged 11–14 years were mobilized to demolish houses and create firebreaks. On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m. the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima from an American Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the Enola Gay, flown by Colonel Paul Tibbets, directly killing an estimated 70,000 people, including 20,000 Japanese combatants and 2,000 Korean slave laborers. By the end of the year and radiation brought the total number of deaths to 90,000–166,000; the population before the bombing was around 340,000 to 350,000. About 70% of the city's buildings were destroyed, another 7% damaged; the public release of film footage of the city following the attack, some of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission research about the human effects of the attack, were restricted during the occupation of Japan, much of this information was censored until the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951, restoring control to the Japanese.
As Ian Buruma observed, "News of the terrible consequences of the atom bomb attacks on Japan was deliberately withheld from the Japanese public by US military censors during the Allied occupation—even as they sought to teach the natives the virtues of a free press. Casualty statistics were suppressed. Film shot by Japanese cameramen in Nagasaki after the bombings was confiscated. "Hiroshima", the account written by John Hersey for The New Yorker, had a huge impact in the US, but was banned in Japan. As Dower says:'In the localities themselves, suffering was compounded not by the unprecedented nature of the catastrophe... but by the fact that public struggle with this traumatic experience was not permitted." The US occupation authorities maintained a monopoly on scientific and medical information about the effects of the atomic bomb through the work of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, which treated the data gathered in studies of hibakusha as privileged information rather than making the results available for the treatment of victims or providing financial or medical support to aid victims.
The book Hiroshima by
Legion of Honour
The Legion of Honour is the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and retained by all French governments and régimes. The order's motto is Honneur et Patrie, its seat is the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur next to the Musée d'Orsay, on the left bank of the Seine in Paris; the order is divided into five degrees of increasing distinction: Chevalier, Commandeur, Grand officier, Grand-croix. During the French Revolution, all of the French orders of chivalry were abolished, replaced with Weapons of Honour, it was the wish of Napoleon Bonaparte, the First Consul, to create a reward to commend civilians and soldiers. From this wish was instituted a Légion d'honneur, a body of men, not an order of chivalry, for Napoleon believed that France wanted a recognition of merit rather than a new system of nobility. However, the Légion d'honneur did use the organization of the old French orders of chivalry, for example the Ordre de Saint-Louis; the insignia of the Légion d'honneur bear a resemblance to those of the Ordre de Saint-Louis, which used a red ribbon.
Napoleon created this award to ensure political loyalty. The organization would be used as a façade to give political favours and concessions; the Légion d'honneur was loosely patterned after a Roman legion, with legionaries, commanders, regional "cohorts" and a grand council. The highest rank was not a Grand Cross but a Grand aigle, a rank that wore the insignia common to a Grand Cross; the members were paid, the highest of them generously: 5,000 francs to a grand officier, 2,000 francs to a commandeur, 1,000 francs to an officier, 250 francs to a légionnaire. Napoleon famously declared, "You call these baubles, well, it is with baubles that men are led... Do you think that you would be able to make men fight by reasoning? Never; that is good only for the scholar in his study. The soldier needs glory, rewards." This has been quoted as "It is with such baubles that men are led." The order was the first modern order of merit. Under the monarchy, such orders were limited to Roman Catholics, all knights had to be noblemen.
The military decorations were the perks of the officers. The Légion d'honneur, was open to men of all ranks and professions—only merit or bravery counted; the new legionnaire had to be sworn into the Légion d'honneur. It is noteworthy that all previous orders were crosses or shared a clear Christian background, whereas the Légion d'honneur is a secular institution; the badge of the Légion d'honneur has five arms. In a decree issued on the 10 Pluviôse XIII, a grand decoration was instituted; this decoration, a cross on a large sash and a silver star with an eagle, symbol of the Napoleonic Empire, became known as the Grand aigle, in 1814 as the Grand cordon. After Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French in 1804 and established the Napoleonic nobility in 1808, award of the Légion d'honneur gave right to the title of "Knight of the Empire"; the title was made hereditary after three generations of grantees. Napoleon had dispensed 15 golden collars of the Légion d'honneur among his family and his senior ministers.
This collar was abolished in 1815. Although research is made difficult by the loss of the archives, it is known that three women who fought with the army were decorated with the order: Virginie Ghesquière, Marie-Jeanne Schelling and a nun, Sister Anne Biget; the Légion d'honneur was visible in the French Empire. The Emperor always wore it and the fashion of the time allowed for decorations to be worn most of the time; the king of Sweden therefore declined the order. Napoleon's own decorations were captured by the Prussians and were displayed in the Zeughaus in Berlin until 1945. Today, they are in Moscow. Louis XVIII changed the appearance of the order. To have done so would have angered the 35,000 to 38,000 members; the images of Napoleon and his eagle were removed and replaced by the image of King Henry IV, the popular first king of the Bourbon line. Three Bourbon fleurs-de-lys replaced the eagle on the reverse of the order. A king's crown replaced the imperial crown. In 1816, the grand cordons were renamed grand crosses and the legionnaires became knights.
The king decreed. The Légion d'honneur became the second-ranking order of knighthood of the French monarchy, after the Order of the Holy Spirit. Following the overthrow of the Bourbons in favour of King Louis Philippe I of the House of Orléans, the Bourbon monarchy's orders were once again abolished and the Légion d'honneur was restored in 1830 as the paramount decoration of the French nation; the insignia were drastically altered. In 1847, there were 47,000 members, yet another revolution in Paris brought a new design to the Légion d'honneur. A nephew of the founder, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, was elected president and he restored the image of his uncle on the crosses of the order. In 1852, the first recorded woman, Angélique Duchemin, an old revolutionary of the 1789 uprising against the absolute monarchy, was admitted into the order. On 2 December 1851, President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte staged a coup d'état with the help of the armed forces, he made himself Emperor of the French one year on 2 December 1852, after a successful plebiscite.
An Imperial crown was added. During Napoleon III's reign, the first American was admitted
Gojong of Korea
Gojong, the Emperor Gwangmu, was the last king of Joseon and the first Emperor of Korea. Gojong took the Joseon throne in 1863 when still a child; as a minor, his father, the Heungseon Daewongun, ruled as regent for him until Gojong reached adulthood. During the mid-1860s, the Heungseon Daewongun was the main proponent of isolationism and the instrument of the persecution of native and foreign Catholics, a policy that led directly to the French invasion and the United States expedition to Korea in 1871; the early years of the Daewongun's rule witnessed a concerted effort to restore the dilapidated Gyeongbok Palace, the seat of royal authority. During the Daewongun's reign, Joseon factional politics, the Seowon, the power wielded by the Andong Kim clan disappeared as political forces within Korean state life. In 1873, Gojong announced his assumption of direct royal rule. In November 1874, with the retirement of the Heungseon Daewongun, Gojong's consort, Queen Min, gained complete control over the court, filling senior court positions with members of her family.
This angered Heungseon Daewongun, exiled from the court. Some relatives of Heungseon Daewongun and members of the Southerner faction plotted a coup. In the 19th century tensions mounted between Qing China and Japan, culminating in the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894–1895. Much of this war was fought on the Korean peninsula. Japan, after the Meiji Restoration, had acquired Western military technology and had forced Joseon to sign the Treaty of Ganghwa in 1876. Japan encroached upon Korean territory in search of fish, iron ore, other natural resources, it established a strong economic presence in the peninsula, heralding the beginning of Japanese Imperial expansion in East Asia. The French campaign against Korea of 1866, United States expedition to Korea in 1871 and the Incident of the Japanese gunboat Unyo put pressure on many of Joseon's officials, including King Gojong; the Treaty of Ganghwa became the first unequal treaty signed between a foreign country. With the signing of its first unequal treaty, Korea became easy prey for many imperialistic powers, the treaty led to Korea being annexed by Japan.
King Gojong began to rely on a new paid army of rifle-equipped soldiers. The old army, armed with swords and old matchlocks revolted as a result of their mediocre wages and loss of prestige, the Heungseon Daewongun was restored to power; however Chinese troops led by the Qing Chinese general Yuan Shikai soon abducted the Daewongun and took him to China, thus foiling his return to power. Four years the Daewongun returned to Korea. On 4 December 1884, five revolutionaries initiated the Gapsin Coup, an attempted coup d'état, by leading a small anti-old minister army, attempting to detain King Gojong and Queen Min; the coup failed after 3 days. Some of its leaders, including Kim Okgyun, fled to Japan, others were executed. Widespread poverty presented significant challenges to the 19th century Joseon Dynasty. One indication of this poverty was the poor conditions of life suffered by those of the lower classes, who had little to eat and lived in little more than run down shanties lined along roads of dirt and mud.
A number of factors, including famine, high taxes and corruption among the ruling class, led to several notable peasant revolts in the 19th century. King Gojong's predecessors had suppressed an 1811–1812 revolt in the Pyeongan Province, led by Hong Gyeong-nae. In 1894, another major revolt, the Donghak Peasant Revolution took hold as an anti-government, anti-yangban and anti-foreign campaign. To suppress the rebellion, the Joseon government requested military aid from Japan, thus deepening Japanese claims to Korea as a protectorate. In the end the revolution failed, but many of the peasants' grievances were dealt with by the Gabo Reform. In 1895, Empress Myeongseong known as Queen Min, was assassinated by Japanese agents; the Japanese minister to Korea, Miura Gorō orchestrated the plot against her. A group of Japanese agents entered the Gyeongbokgung in Seoul, under guard by Korean troops sympathetic to the Japanese, the Queen was killed in the palace; the Queen had attempted to counter Japanese interference in Korea and was considering turning to Russia or China for support.
By 1895 Japan had won the First Sino-Japanese War, gaining much more influence over the Korean government. The Gabo reforms and the assassination of the Queen stirred controversy in Korea, fomenting Korean anti-Japanese sentiments; some Confucian scholars, as well as farmers, formed over 60 successive righteous armies to fight for Korean freedom. These armies were preceded by the Donghak movement and succeeded by various Korean independence movements. On 11 February 1896, King Gojong and his crown prince fled from the Gyeongbokgung to the Russian legation in Seoul, from which they governed for about one year, an event known as Korea royal refuge at the Russian legation. In 1897, King Gojong, yielding to rising pressure from overseas and the demands of the Independence Association-led public opinion, returned to Gyeongungung. There he proclaimed the founding of the Empire of Korea redesignated the national title as such, declared a new era name Gwangmu (meaning, "shining and ma
Order of the Paulownia Flowers
The Order of the Paulownia Flowers is an order presented by the Japanese government. Established in 1888 during the Meiji Restoration as the highest award in the Order of the Rising Sun; the only grade of the order is Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, which ranks higher than the Order of the Rising Sun but lower than the Order of the Chrysanthemum. Traditionally, the order has been conferred upon eminent statesmen, former prime ministers and senior cabinet ministers and judges, it may be conferred posthumously, is the highest conferred honor in the Japanese honors system. Awards are not made annually; the badge for the Order is a gilt cross with white enameled rays, bearing a central emblem of a red enameled sun disc surrounded by red rays, with three paulownia blossoms between each arm of the cross. It is suspended from three enameled paulownia leaves on a sash in red with white border stripes, is worn on the right shoulder; the star for the Order is the same as the badge, but without the paulownia leaves suspension.
It is worn on the left chest. Information from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia Information from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia Yutaka Inoue Takeo Nishioka Nobutaka Machimura Order of Civil Merit Order of the Nine Gems Order of the Bath Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Order of Charles III Order of Merit of the Italian Republic Order of Christ and Military Order of Saint James of the Sword Peterson, James W. Barry C. Weaver and Michael A. Quigley. Orders and Medals of Japan and Associated States. San Ramon, California: Orders and Medals Society of America. ISBN 1-890974-09-9. Japan, Cabinet Office: Decorations and Medals Decoration Bureau: Order of the Paulownia Flowers Japan Mint: Production Process
Kumamoto is the capital city of Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan. As of April 1, 2017, the city has an estimated population of 737,812 and a population density of 1,900 persons per km2; the total area is 389.53 km2. Greater Kumamoto had a population of 1,461,000, as of the 2000 census; as of 2010, Kumamoto Metropolitan Employment Area has a GDP of US$39.8 billion. It is not considered part of the Fukuoka–Kitakyushu metropolitan area, despite their shared border; the city was designated on April 2012 by government ordinance. Katō Kiyomasa, a contemporary of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, was made daimyō of half of the administrative region of Higo in 1588. After that, Kiyomasa built Kumamoto Castle. Due to its many innovative defensive designs, Kumamoto Castle was considered impregnable, Kiyomasa enjoyed a reputation as one of the finest castle-builders in Japanese history. After Kiyomasa died in 1611, his son, succeeded him. Tadahiro was removed by Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1632; the current administrative body of the City of Kumamoto was founded on April 1, 1889.
Near the end of World War II, on July 1, 1945, Kumamoto was bombed in an Allied air raid, which destroyed a square mile, 20% of the city's area. After the war, the Japanese Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii decided to construct a Peace Pagoda atop Mount Hanaoka in the city to commemorate all those lost in war and to promote peace. Inaugurated in 1954, it was the first of over 80 built by Fujii and his followers all over the world. On February 1, 1991, the towns of Akita, Kawachi and Hokubu were merged into Kumamoto. On October 6, 2008, the town of Tomiai was merged into Kumamoto. On March 23, 2010, the town of Jōnan and the town of Ueki were merged into Kumamoto. A series of earthquakes struck the area beginning April 14, 2016, including a tremor with moment magnitude 7.1 early in the morning of April 16, 2016, local time. Kumamoto has a humid subtropical climate with cold winters. Precipitation is significant throughout the year, but is much heavier around the summer the months of June and July.
The city's most famous landmark is Kumamoto Castle, a large and, in its day well fortified Japanese castle. The donjon is a concrete reconstruction built in the 1970s, but several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle, assaulted during the Satsuma Rebellion and sacked and burned after a 53-day siege, it was during this time. Basashi remains popular in Kumamoto and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in Japan, though these days it is considered a delicacy. Within the outer walls of Kumamoto Castle is the Hosokawa Gyobu-tei, the former residence of the Higo daimyō; this traditional wooden mansion has a fine Japanese garden located on its grounds. Miyamoto Musashi lived the last part of his life in Kumamoto, his tomb and the cave where he resided during his final years is situated close by. He penned the famous Go Rin no Sho. Kumamoto is home to Suizen-ji Jōju-en, a formal garden neighboring Suizenji Temple 3 kilometers southeast of Kumamoto Castle. A notable shrines are Takahashi Inari Shrine, Fujisaki Hachimangū.
Suizenji Park is home to the Suizenji Municipal Stadium, where the city's football team, Roasso Kumamoto used to play but nowadays they use the larger KKWing Stadium in Higashi Ward. The downtown area has a commercial district centred on two shopping arcades, the Shimotori and Kamitori, which extend for several city blocks; the main department stores are located here along with a vast number of smaller retailers and bars. Many local festivals are held near the arcades. Cultural venues include the Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Kumamoto Prefectural Theater. Kumamoto has a prefectural mascot, "Kumamon". Kumamon is a black bear with red cheeks; the first of many peace pagodas around the world was erected by Japanese Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii atop Mount Hanaoka beginning 1947. Inaugurated in 1954, it was the first of over 80 built by Fujii and his followers all over the world. Kazufumi Ōnishi has been the city's mayor since December 2014. Since April 1, 2012, Kumamoto has five wards: Kita-ku Nishi-ku Chūō-ku Higashi-ku Minami-ku In November 2017, Kumamoto politician Yuka Ogata was forced to leave the Kumamoto municipal assembly because she had brought her baby.
The incident was reported by international media as an example of the challenges facing women in Japan. Local public transport is provided by the Kumamoto City Transportation Bureau. Trams run to a few suburbs near the downtown area. A large bus terminus, called the Kotsu Centre, provides access to both local and intercity destinations. JR Kumamoto station provides rail links to Japan's extensive rail network. On March 12, 2011, work on the shinkansen network was completed, establishing a direct high-speed rail link to Tokyo via Fukuoka's Hakata station. Several local taxi companies serve the Kumamoto metropolitan area and are the only 24-hour public transport in the city. Kumamoto Airport is located in nearby Mashiki. There is a local football club Roasso Kumamoto in J. League. Kumamoto Volters of the basketball B. League are based in Kumamoto; the Kumamoto Castle Marathon is a yearly event in Kumamoto City. It was established in commemoration of Kumamoto becoming a designated city in 2012; the 1997 World Men's Handball Championship was played in