Nagasaki Prefecture (長崎県, Nagasaki-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyūshū. Nagasaki Prefecture has a population of 1,314,078 (1 June 2020) and has a geographic area of 4,130 km2 (1,594 sq mi). Nagasaki Prefecture borders Saga Prefecture to the northeast.

Nagasaki Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese長崎県
 • RōmajiNagasaki-ken
Obon Festival with tōrō nagashi lantern release on the Albuquerque Bridge over the Sasebo River, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
Obon Festival with tōrō nagashi lantern release on the Albuquerque Bridge over the Sasebo River, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
Flag of Nagasaki Prefecture
Official logo of Nagasaki Prefecture
Anthem: Minami no kaze
Location of Nagasaki Prefecture
Coordinates: 32°45′00″N 129°52′03″E / 32.75000°N 129.86750°E / 32.75000; 129.86750
Country Japan
SubdivisionsDistricts: 4, Municipalities: 21
 • GovernorKengo Oishi since 2 March 2022
 • Total4,130.88 km2 (1,594.94 sq mi)
 • Rank37th
 (June 1, 2020)
 • Total1,314,078
 • Rank27th
 • Density320/km2 (820/sq mi)
 • Dialects
ISO 3166 codeJP-42
Symbols of Japan
BirdMandarin duck (Aix galericulata)
FlowerUnzentsutsuji (Rhododendron serpyllifolium)
TreeSawara (Chamaecyparis pisifera)

Nagasaki is the capital and largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture, with other major cities including Sasebo, Isahaya, and Ōmura. Nagasaki Prefecture is located in western Kyūshū with a territory consisting of many mainland peninsulas centered around Ōmura Bay, as well as islands and archipelagos including Tsushima and Iki in the Korea Strait and the Gotō Islands in the East China Sea. Nagasaki Prefecture is known for its century-long trading history with the Europeans and as the sole place of direct trade and exchange between Japan and the outside world during the Sakoku period. Nagasaki Prefecture is home to several of the Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

History Edit

Nagasaki Prefecture was created by merging of the western half of the former province of Hizen with the island provinces of Tsushima and Iki.[1] Facing China and Korea, the region around Hirado was a traditional center for traders and pirates.

Kuichi Uchida's image of Nagasaki in 1872

During the 16th century, Catholic missionaries and traders from Portugal arrived and became active in Hirado and Nagasaki, which became a major center for foreign trade. After being given free rein in Oda Nobunaga's period, the missionaries were forced out little by little, until finally, in the Tokugawa era, Christianity was banned under the Sakoku national isolation policy: Japanese foreign trade was restricted to Chinese and Dutch traders based at Dejima in Nagasaki. However, Kirishitan (Japanese Christian) worship continued underground. These Kakure Kirishitan (hidden Christians) were tried at every step, forced to step on fumi-e ("trample pictures", images of the Virgin Mary and saints) to prove that they were non-Christian. With the banishment of all Catholic missionaries, traders from Catholic countries were also forced out of the country. Along with them, their children, half Japanese and half European, were forced to leave. The majority was sent to Jagatara (Jakarta) and are still remembered by the locals as the people who wrote the poignant letters which were smuggled across the sea to their homeland.

Today, Nagasaki has prominent Catholic churches, and the Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region, have been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Nagasaki Prefect Office, Meiji Period

During the Meiji Restoration, Nagasaki and Sasebo became major ports for foreign trade, and eventually major military bases and shipbuilding centers for the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries up to World War II. On August 9, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, which destroyed all buildings in a 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) radius from the point of impact and extensively damaged other parts of the city. Roughly 39,000 people were killed, including 27,778 Japanese munitions workers, 2,000 Korean forced workers, and 150 Japanese soldiers. About 68-80% of the industrial production was destroyed to the point it would not recover for months or at least a year.

Nagasaki Prefecture contains many areas prone to heavy rain and landslide damage. In July 1957, mainly in the Isahaya area, damage from heavy rains, flooding and landslides lead to a death toll of 586, with 136 people missing and 3,860 injured. In July 1982, typhoon damage in the Nagasaki area lead to 299 fatalities, according to a report by the Japanese government.[citation needed]

Geography Edit

Nagasaki borders Saga Prefecture on the east, and is otherwise surrounded by water, including Ariake Bay, the Tsushima Straits (far from Busan and South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea), and the East China Sea. It also includes a large number of islands such as Tsushima, Iki and Goto. Most of the prefecture is near the coast and there are a number of ports such as Nagasaki and a United States Navy base at Sasebo.

As of 1 April 2014, 18% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Saikai and Unzen-Amakusa National Parks; Genkai and Iki-Tsushima Quasi-National Parks; and Hokushō, Nishi Sonogi Hantō, Nomo Hantō, Ōmurawan, Shimabara Hantō, and Taradake Prefectural Natural Parks.[2]

Cities Edit

Map of Nagasaki Prefecture
     City      Town
Night view of Nagasaki City

Thirteen cities are located in Nagasaki Prefecture:

Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
  Gotō 五島市 420.81 37,775  
  Hirado 平戸市 235.63 31,192  
  Iki 壱岐市 138.57 28,008  
  Isahaya 諫早市 341.79 135,546  
  Matsuura 松浦市 130.37 23,566  
  Minamishimabara 南島原市 169.89 45,465  
  Nagasaki (capital) 長崎市 240.71 407,624  
  Ōmura 大村市 126.34 95,146  
  Saikai 西海市 242.01 28,815  
  Sasebo 佐世保市 426.06 247,739  
  Shimabara 島原市 82.77 44,936  
  Tsushima 対馬市 708.61 31,550  
  Unzen 雲仙市 206.92 42,457  

Districts Edit

These are the towns and villages of each district:

Name Area (km2) Population District Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
  Hasami 波佐見町 56 14,940 Higashisonogi District Town  
  Higashisonogi 東彼杵町 74.29 8,175 Higashisonogi District Town  
  Kawatana 川棚町 74.25 9,219 Higashisonogi District Town  
  Nagayo 長与町 28.81 42,570 Nishisonogi District Town  
  Ojika 小値賀町 25.46 2,588 Kitamatsuura District Town  
  Saza 佐々町 32.3 13,825 Kitamatsuura District Town  
  Shin-Kamigotō 新上五島町 213.98 19,886 Minami-Matsuura District Town  
  Togitsu 時津町 20.73 30,084 Nishisonogi District Town  

Mergers Edit

The following municipalities have been dissolved since the year 2000.

Culture Edit

Religion Edit

Religious denominations in the Nagasaki Prefecture (1996)[3]

  Pure Land Buddhism (19.5%)
  Zen Buddhism (3.6%)
  Tendai or Shingon Buddhism (4.9%)
  Soka Gakkai (3%)
  Nichiren Buddhism (5.1%)
  Other Buddhist schools (3%)
  Christianity (5.1%)
  Shinto sects (2%)
  Folk Shinto or no religion (53.8%)

Nagasaki is the most Christianized area in Japan with Roman Catholic missions having been established there as early as the 16th century. Shusaku Endo's novel Silence draws from the oral history of the local Christian (Kirishitan) communities, both Kakure Kirishitan and Hanare Kirishitan.

As of 2002, there are 68,617 Catholics in Nagasaki Prefecture, accounting for 4.52 percent of the population of the prefecture.

Sports Edit

Transcosmos Stadium Nagasaki in Isahaya.

The city has one football team, V-Varen Nagasaki, which plays in the J2 League.

The Nagasaki Saints of the former Shikoku-Kyūshū Island League made Nagasaki Prefecture their home prior to their dissolving.

Visitor attractions Edit

View of Osezaki Lighthouse on Fukue Island
Grave of William Adams in Hirado inscribed with his Japanese title Miura Anjin (三浦按針)
Shimabara Castle
Sōfuku-ji Ōbaku Zen temple in Nagasaki
Kujūku Islands in Sasebo

Transportation Edit

Rail Edit

Tram Edit

Roads Edit

Expressways and toll roads Edit

  • Nagasaki Expressway
  • West Kyushu Expressway
  • Nagasaki Dejima Road
  • Kawahira Toll Road
  • Kunimi Toll Road
  • Kawahira Toll Road

National highways Edit

Ports Edit

  • Nagasaki Port
  • Sasebo Port
  • Matsuura Port
  • Hirado Port
  • Shimabara Port
  • Fukue Port
  • Izuhara Port of Tsushima
  • Gonoura Port of Iki Island

Airports Edit

Politics Edit

The current governor of Nagasaki is Kengo Oishi, who defeated 3-term incumbent Hōdō Nakamura in 2022. Oishi, a doctor, was 39-year old when he took office, and the youngest sitting prefectural governor in Japan.[4] Nakamura was first elected in 2010 to succeed Genjirō Kaneko and was previously a vice-governor.

The prefectural assembly of Nagasaki has a regular membership of 46, elected in 16 electoral districts in unified regional elections (last round: 2011). As of April 2014, the LDP-led caucus has 23 members, the DPJ-SDP-led caucus 17.

In the National Diet, Nagasaki is represented by four directly elected members of the House of Representatives and two (one per ordinary election) of the House of Councillors. After the most recent national elections of 2010, 2012 and 2013, Nagasaki sends an all-LDP delegation to the Diet (excluding members who lost election in Nagasaki districts, but were elected to the proportional representation segment of the House of Representatives in the Kyūshū block).

Citations Edit

  1. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 780, at Google Books.
  2. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  3. ^ Religion in Japan by prefecture, 1996. English language bar table.
  4. ^ "Incumbent defeated in Nagasaki governor election". The Japan Times. Retrieved 21 December 2022.

General references Edit

External links Edit