Mie Prefecture (Japanese: 三重県, Hepburn: Mie-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kansai region of Honshu.[2] Mie Prefecture has a population of 1,781,948 (as of 1 June 2019) and has a geographic area of 5,774 square kilometers (2,229 sq mi). Mie Prefecture is bordered by Gifu Prefecture to the north, Shiga Prefecture and Kyoto Prefecture to the northwest, Nara Prefecture to the west, Wakayama Prefecture to the southwest, and Aichi Prefecture to the east.

Mie Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese三重県
 • RōmajiMie-ken
The pair of Meoto Iwa rocks off the coast of Ise city, Mie prefecture during sunrise
The pair of Meoto Iwa rocks off the coast of Ise city, Mie prefecture during sunrise
Flag of Mie Prefecture
Official logo of Mie Prefecture
Anthem: Mie kenminka
Location of Mie Prefecture
Coordinates: 34°42′N 136°30′E / 34.700°N 136.500°E / 34.700; 136.500
Country Japan
RegionKansai (Tōkai)
Largest cityYokkaichi
SubdivisionsDistricts: 7, Municipalities: 29
 • GovernorKatsumi Ichimi (since September 2021)
 • Total5,774.41 km2 (2,229.51 sq mi)
 • Rank25th
 (1 June 2019)
 • Total1,781,948
 • Rank22nd
 • Density310/km2 (800/sq mi)
 • TotalJP¥ 8,086 billion
US$ 74.2 billion (2019)
ISO 3166 codeJP-24
Symbols of Japan
BirdSnowy plover
(Charadrius alexandrinus)
FishJapanese spiny lobster
(Panulirus japonicus)
(Iris ensata)
TreeJapanese cedar
(Cryptomeria japonica)

Tsu is the capital and Yokkaichi is the largest city of Mie Prefecture, with other major cities including Suzuka, Matsusaka, Ise, and Kuwana.[3]: 995  Mie Prefecture is located on the eastern coast of the Kii Peninsula, forming the western side of Ise Bay which features the mouths of the Kiso Three Rivers. Mie Prefecture is a popular tourism destination home to Nagashima Spa Land, Suzuka International Racing Course, and some of the oldest and holiest sites in Shinto, the traditional religion of Japan, including the Ise Grand Shrine and the Tsubaki Grand Shrine.

History edit

Ise Shrine

Until the Meiji Restoration, the area that is now Mie Prefecture was made up of Ise Province, Shima Province, Iga Province, and part of Kii Province.[4]

Evidence of human habitation in Mie dates back more than 10,000 years. During the Jōmon and Yayoi periods, agricultural communities began to form along the river and coastal areas of the region. Ise Shrine is said to have been established during the Yayoi period, and in the 7th century the Saikū Imperial Residence was built in what is now Meiwa Town to serve as both a residence and administrative centre for the Saiō, an Imperial Princess who served as High Priestess of Ise Shrine.

During the Edo period, the area now known as Mie Prefecture consisted of several feudal domains, each ruled by an appointed lord. Transport networks, including the Tokaido and Ise Roads, were built. Port towns such as Ohminato, Kuwana and Anōtsu, posting stations and castle towns flourished. Pilgrimages to Ise Shrine also became very popular.

After the Meiji Restoration, the former provinces of Ise, Shima and Iga as well as a portion of eastern Kii, were organized and reorganized repeatedly. In 1871, the area from the Kiso Three Rivers in the north to present-day Tsu became Anōtsu Prefecture, and the area south of that became Watarai Prefecture. In 1872, the Anōtsu prefectural seat moved from Tsu to Yokkaichi, and the prefecture itself was renamed Mie. For a variety of reasons, including the strong likelihood that Mie would eventually merge with Watarai, the prefectural seat returned to Tsu the following year, and Mie Prefecture took its present-day form in 1876, when it merged with its southern neighbor.

The name Mie supposedly was taken from a comment about the region made by Yamato Takeru on his way back from conquering the eastern regions.

In 1959, many people died as parts of Mie were devastated by the Ise-wan Typhoon, the strongest typhoon to hit Japan in recorded history. Crops were destroyed, sea walls ruined, roads and railways damaged and a substantial number of people were injured or left homeless.

In May 2016, the city of Shima hosted the 42nd G7 summit, the third summit without the presence of Russia.

Geography edit

Physical map of Mie prefecture
Regional division of Mie as used by the Japan Meteorological Agency: The primary division is between North/Central and South, the former being further subdivided into North, Central and Iga, the latter into Ise-Shima and KiSei/East Kishū; Ise/Sei-shū, Shima/Shi-shū, Iga/I-shū and Kii/Ki-shū are the four Ritsuryō provinces that are partly or entirely part of modern Mie.

Mie Prefecture forms the eastern part of the Kii Peninsula, and borders on Aichi, Gifu, Shiga, Kyoto, Nara, and Wakayama. It is considered[by whom?] part of the Kansai and Tōkai regions due to its geographical proximity to Aichi Prefecture and its cultural influence from Kansai, such as the fact that Kansai dialect is spoken in Mie. Traditionally, though, the Iga region of Mie is considered to have always been a part of Kansai.

Mie Prefecture measures 170 km (106 mi) from north to south, and 80 km (50 mi) from east to west, and includes five distinct geographical areas:[5]

  1. the north-west of Mie consists of the Suzuka Mountains
  2. along the coast of Ise Bay from the Aichi border to Ise City lies the Ise Plain, where most of the population of Mie live
  3. south of the Ise Plain is the Shima Peninsula
  4. bordering Nara in the central-west is the Iga Basin
  5. running from central Mie to its southern borders is the Nunobiki Mountainous Region.
Mie coastline, near Toba

Mie has a coastline that stretches 1,094.9 km (680.3 mi) and, as of 2000, Mie's 5,776.44 km2 (2,230.30 sq mi) landmass is 64.8 percent forest, 11.5 percent agriculture, 6 percent residential area, 3.8 percent roads, and 3.6 percent rivers. The remaining 10.3 percent are not classified.

The Ise Plain has a relatively moderate climate, averaging 14 to 15 °C (57 to 59 °F) for the year. The Iga Basin has more daily temperature variance and averages temperatures 1 to 2 degrees cooler than the Ise Plain. Southern Mie, south of the Shima Peninsula, has a warmer Pacific marine climate, with Owase Region having one of the heaviest rainfall figures for all of Japan.[5]

As of 31 March 2019, 36% of the total area of the prefecture comprised designated Natural Parks,[6] namely:

Municipalities edit

Since 2006, Mie consists of 29 municipalities: 14 cities and 15 towns.

Flag, name w/o suffix Full name District
Area (km2) Population Map Local public entity code
(w/o checksum)
Japanese transcription translation
  Iga 伊賀市 Iga-shi Iga City 558.17 95,137   24216
  Inabe いなべ市 Inabe-shi Inabe City 219.58 45,589   24214
  Ise 伊勢市 Ise-shi Ise City 208.52 123,129   24203
  Kameyama 亀山市 Kameyama-shi Kameyama City 190.91 50,230   24210
  Kumano 熊野市 Kumano-shi Kumano City 373.35 17,727   24212
  Kuwana 桑名市 Kuwana-shi Kuwana City 136.68 139,587   24205
  Matsusaka 松阪市 Matsusaka-shi Matsusaka City 623.64 165,166   24204
  Nabari 名張市 Nabari-shi Nabari City 129.77 78,190   24208
  Owase 尾鷲市 Owase-shi Owase City 192.71 17,953   24209
  Shima 志摩市 Shima-shi Shima City 179.67 53,056   24215
  Suzuka 鈴鹿市 Suzuka-shi Suzuka City 194.46 196,835   24207
  Toba 鳥羽市 Toba-shi Toba City 107.34 19,227   24211
  Tsu (capital) 津市 Tsu-shi Tsu City 711.11 279,304   24201
  Yokkaichi 四日市市 Yokkaichi-shi Yokkaichi City 206.44 306,107   24202
  Asahi 朝日町 Asahi-chō Asahi Town Mie 5.99 9,941   24343
  Kawagoe 川越町 Kawagoe-chō Kawagoe Town 8.73 14,999   24344
  Komono 菰野町 Komono-chō Komono Town 106.89 40,289   24341
  Kihō 紀宝町 Kihō-chō Kihō Town Minami-Muro
(South Muro)
79.66 11,454   24562
  Mihama 御浜町 Mihama-chō Mihama Town 88.28 9,089   24561
  Kihoku 紀北町 Kihoku-chō Kihoku Town Kita-Muro
(North Muro)
257.01 17,885   24543
  Kisosaki 木曽岬町 Kisosaki-chō Kisosaki Town Kuwana 15.72 6,730   24303
  Meiwa 明和町 Meiwa-chō Meiwa Town Taki 40.92 22,726   24442
  Ōdai 大台町 Ōdai-chō Ōdai Town 362.94 9,345   24443
  Taki 多気町 Taki-chō Taki Town 103.06 14,846   24441
  Minamiise 南伊勢町 Minami-Ise-chō South Ise Town Watarai 242.98 14,217   24472
  Taiki 大紀町 Taiki-chō Taiki Town 233.54 9,543   24471
  Tamaki 玉城町 Tamaki-chō Tamaki Town 40.94 15,280   24461
  Watarai 度会町 Watarai-chō Watarai Town 134.97 8,534   24470
  Tōin 東員町 Tōin-chō Tōin Town Inabe 22.66 25,552   24324
  Mie 三重県 Mie-ken Mie Prefecture 5,774.41 1,781,948   24000
ISO: JP-24

Mergers edit

When the modern municipalities were introduced in 1889, Mie initially consisted of 336 municipalities: 1 (by definition: district-level) city and 21 districts with 18 towns and 317 villages. With the Great Shōwa mergers of the 1950s, the number of municipalities in Mie had dropped to 88 by 1956. The Great Heisei mergers of the 2000s reduced the total from 69 to 29 between 2000 and 2006.

Economy edit

Mie Prefecture has traditionally been a link between east and west Japan, thanks largely to the Tokaido and Ise Pilgrimage Roads. Traditional handicrafts such as Iga Braid, Yokkaichi Banko Pottery, Suzuka Ink, Iga Pottery and Ise Katagami flourished. With 65% of the prefecture consisting of forests and with over 1,000 km (600 mi) of coastline, Mie has a long been associated with forestry and seafood industries. Mie also produces tea, beef, cultured pearls and fruit, mainly mandarin oranges. Food production companies include Azuma Foods.[7][8]

Northern Mie is home to a number of manufacturing industries, mainly transport machinery manufacturing (vehicles and ships) and heavy chemical industries such as oil refineries. As well as this, Mie Prefecture is expanding into more advanced industries including the manufacture of semiconductors and liquid crystal displays. In Suzuka, the Honda Motor Company maintains a factory established in 1960 that built the Honda Civic, as well as other vehicles.

Demographics edit

Mie prefecture population pyramid in 2020
Mie Prefecture Demographics (as of 2014)[9]
Total population 1,820,491
Male population 886,362
Female population 934,129
Population aged under 15 240,263
Population aged 15 to 64 1,076,257
Population aged over 64 491,779
Households 721,344
Population density (per km2) 315.3

Culture edit

Universities edit

Transportation edit

Rail edit

Road edit

Distribution of regional license plates in Mie: Much of the prefecture still uses   三重 (Mie), and there is only one prefecturewide MLIT vehicle registration centre for all of Mie, in Tsu City; but with the introduction of regional plates without a separate licensing office since the 2000s, there are now three additional regional identifieres:   四日市 (Yokkaichi) for Yokkaichi City alone,   鈴鹿 (Suzuka) in Suzuka City and Kameyama City, and   伊勢志摩 (Ise-Shima) used for seven municipalities on the Shima peninsula.

Expressways and toll roads edit

National highways edit

  • Route 1
  • Route 23 (Ise-Yokkaichi-Nagoya-Gamagori-Toyohashi)
  • Route 25 (Meihan Highway)
  • Route 42
  • Route 163
  • Route 164 (Yokkaichi)
  • Route 165
  • Route 167 (Shima-Toba -Ise)
  • Route 258
  • Route 301
  • Route 311
  • Route 365
  • Route 421
  • Route 422
  • Route 425 (Owase-Totsukawa-Gobo)
  • Route 477

Ports edit

  • Yokkaichi Port - International and domestic container and goods hub port
  • Tsu Port - Hydrofoil ferry route to Centrair airport (Chubu International Airport)
  • Matsuzaka Port - Hydrofoil ferry route to Centrair
  • Toba Port - Ferry route to Ira Cape

Tourism edit

Notable places edit

Meoto Rocks in Ise Bay, Ise
Mount Gozaisho and cable-car in Komono
Winter Illumination event in Nabana Village Park, Kuwana
Kitabatake Jōkan garden

Notable citizens edit

Famous products edit

Government and politics edit

The Meiji-era, former (1879–1964) building of the Mie prefectural government has been reconstructed in the "Meiji village" museum in Aichi.

The prefectural government was briefly moved to Yokkaichi Town in Mie District in 1872 (hence the name Mie), but the capital moved back to Anotsu, Anō District (present-day Tsu City) in 1873[13] and has remained there since. Ignoring small changes through cross-prefectural municipal mergers, neighbourhood transfers and coastline variations, Mie reached its present borders in 1876 when it absorbed Watarai Prefecture. After the modern reactivation of districts in 1878/79, Mie consisted of 21 districts (merged down to 15 in the 1890s).[14] The first prefectural assembly was elected in March 1879 and convened in April.[15] In the introduction of modern cities, towns and villages in 1889, Anotsu became district-independent as Tsu City and the districts were subdivided into 18 towns and 317 villages (see the List of mergers in Mie Prefecture for changes since then).

As in all prefectures except Okinawa, the governor of Mie is directly elected since 1947. The prefectural assembly has 51 members. Both prefectural elections in Mie are currently held as part of unified local elections. In the last round in 2019, governor Eikei Suzuki easily won a third term with broad support from LDP, Shinsei Mie (see below) and Kōmeitō, against only one, JCP-supported challenger;[16] Suzuki was originally elected narrowly in 2011 as centre-right candidate against centre-left supported Naohisa Matsuda, former mayor of Tsu City. In the Mie assembly, the LDP is strongest party;[17] but it is distributed across several parliamentary groups, and the strongest group is Shisei Mie (新政みえ; "Renewal Mie") around members of several local parties of former Democrats.[18]

In the National Diet, Mie is represented by four directly elected members of the House of Representatives and two (one per class) in the House of Councillors. After the national elections of 2016, 2017 and 2019, Mie's directly elected delegation was evenly split between Liberal Democrats (HR district #1: Norihisa Tamura, #4: Noriyo Mitsuya, HC 2019–25 class: Yūmi Yoshikawa) and ex-Democrats (HR #2: Masaharu Nakagawa, #3: Katsuya Okada, HC 2016–22 class: Hirokazu Shiba) in both houses of the Diet.

Sister states edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ "2020年度国民経済計算(2015年基準・2008SNA) : 経済社会総合研究所 - 内閣府". 内閣府ホームページ (in Japanese). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Mie prefecture" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 628, p. 628, at Google Books; "Kansai" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 477, p. 477, at Google Books
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Tsu" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 995, p. 995, at Google Books
  4. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books
  5. ^ a b "Mie Prefecture homepage: Mie's Geography and Climate (pdf)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  6. ^ 自然公園都道府県別面積総括 [General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture] (PDF) (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  7. ^ "Azuma Foods Co., Ltd.|Company Profile". Azumafoods.co.jp. Archived from the original on 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  8. ^ Hamlin, Suzanne (13 August 1997). "From Japan, A Big Wave Of Seaweed". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Mie Prefecture Homepage: Key Statistics
  10. ^ "続日本100名城" (in Japanese). 日本城郭協会. 29 November 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  11. ^ Morrissy, Kim. "Mysterious Sonic the Hedgehog Statue in Japanese Mountains Gets Refurbished". Anime News Network. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  12. ^ Jung, E. Alex (2022-01-14). "Mitski in 9 Acts". Vulture. Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  13. ^ Prefectural government: 三重県庁舎(津市下部田) ("Mie prefectural government building (Tsu City, Lower Heta)"), retrieved June 24, 2020.
  14. ^ Map of Mie's districts in January 1889, i.e. before the introduction of cities, Map of Mie's two cities and 15 districts in 1900
  15. ^ Prefectural assembly: history/chronology since 1878 (Japanese), retrieved June 24, 2020.
  16. ^ NHKSenkyoWeb: 2019 unified election results/prefectural governors/Mie, retrieved June 24, 2020.
  17. ^ NHKSenkyoWeb: 2019 unified election results/prefectural assemblies/Mie [by nomination in that election, not by party membership, let alone parliamentary group membership, or affiliations at any previous or later point in time] (Japanese), retrieved June 24, 2020.
  18. ^ Prefectural assembly: Members by parliamentary group (Japanese), retrieved June 24, 2020.

References edit

External links edit