Sōma, Fukushima

Sōma (相馬市, Sōma-shi) is a city located in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. As of 29 February 2020, the city had an estimated population of 34,631, and a population density of 180 persons per km² in 14,358 households.[1] The total area of the city is 197.79 square kilometres (76.37 sq mi).

Sōma

相馬市
Sōma City Hall
Sōma City Hall
Flag of Sōma
Flag
Official logo of Sōma
Emblem
Location of Sōma in Fukushima Prefecture
Location of Sōma in Fukushima Prefecture
Sōma is located in Japan
Sōma
Sōma
 
Coordinates: 37°47′48″N 140°55′10.7″E / 37.79667°N 140.919639°E / 37.79667; 140.919639Coordinates: 37°47′48″N 140°55′10.7″E / 37.79667°N 140.919639°E / 37.79667; 140.919639
CountryJapan
RegionTōhoku
PrefectureFukushima
Government
 • MayorHidekiyo Tachiya
Area
 • Total197.79 km2 (76.37 sq mi)
Population
 (February 29, 2020)
 • Total34,631
 • Density180/km2 (450/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (Japan Standard Time)
Symbols 
• TreeJapanese black pine
• FlowersSpring: sakura
Summer: rugosa rose
Autumn: balloon flower
Winter: sazanka
• BirdJapanese bush warbler
Phone number0244-37-2117
Address13 Nakamura Ōtesaki, Sōma-shi, Fukushima-ken 976-8601
WebsiteOfficial website
Matsukawaura Lagoon

GeographyEdit

Sōma is located in northeastern Fukushima Prefecture, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Abukuma Plateau to the west. Sōma is closer to Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture than it is to the prefectural capital of Fukushima.

Neighboring municipalitiesEdit

ClimateEdit

Sōma has a humid climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) characterized by mild summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall. The average annual temperature in Sōma is 12.6 °C. The average annual rainfall is 1260 mm with September as the wettest month. The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 24.8 °C, and lowest in January, at around 1.8 °C.[2]

DemographicsEdit

Per Japanese census data,[3] the population of Sōma has remained the same over the past 40 years.

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1920 27,858—    
1930 31,627+13.5%
1940 31,887+0.8%
1950 44,375+39.2%
1960 41,352−6.8%
1970 37,189−10.1%
1980 37,332+0.4%
1990 39,134+4.8%
2000 38,842−0.7%
2010 37,817−2.6%

HistoryEdit

The area of present-day Sōma was part of ancient Mutsu Province, and has been settled since at least the Jōmon period. During the Edo period, the area developed as the castle town of Sōma Domain, home of the Sōma clan from the Kamakura period until the Boshin War. After the Meiji Restoration, it was organized as part of Iwaki Province. With the establishment of the modern municipalities system on April 1, 1896, the area was organized into a number of towns and villages within the districts of Namekata and Uda. In 1896, Namekata and Uda were merged to create Sōma District. The town of Nakamura was established on April 1, 1889. Nakamura was merged with seven neighbouring villages and raised to city status on March 31, 1954, becoming the city of Sōma.

2011 earthquake and tsunamiEdit

The eastern, coastal portion of Sōma was inundated by tsunami flood waters following the magnitude 9.0 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami off its coastline on March 11, 2011.[4] The tsunami reached up to approximately 4 km inland in Sōma; flooded areas included Sōma Port and the Matsukawa-ura Bay area, up to the elevated Route 6 Sōma Bypass.[5] The tsunami was measured to have been 9.3 meters or higher in Sōma.[6]

Sōma is about 45 kilometres (28 miles) north of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the site of the nuclear accident that followed the tsunami, and was thus not subject to mandatory evacuation.[7]

GovernmentEdit

Sōma has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral city legislature of 20 members.[8] Sōma, together with the town of Shinchi contributes one member to the Fukushima Prefectural Assembly. In terms of national politics, the city is part of Fukushima 1st district of the lower house of the Diet of Japan.

EconomyEdit

Sōma has a mixed economy, based on agriculture, commercial fishing and light manufacturing. The area is noted for its strawberry cultivation. The Shinchi Thermal Power Station, a coal-fired thermal power station is located in Sōma.

EducationEdit

Sōma has nine public elementary schools and four public junior high schools operated by the city and two public high schools operated by the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education. The prefecture also operates one special education school.

HospitalEdit

Soma General Hospital, a public hospital with 240 beds, is located in Sōma.

TransportationEdit

RailwayEdit

  East Japan Railway Company (JR East) - Jōban Line

HighwayEdit

SeaportsEdit

Local attractionsEdit

Noted people from SōmaEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sōma city official home page(in Japanese)
  2. ^ Sōma climate data
  3. ^ Sōma population statistics
  4. ^ Kyodo News, "Survivors in trauma after life-changing nightmare day", The Japan Times, 13 March 2011, p. 2.
  5. ^ NHK, TV News Broadcast, 13 March 2011.
  6. ^ http://www.jma.go.jp/en/tsunami/observation_2_04_20110313180559.html JMA tsunami observation data.
  7. ^ Fukushima evacuation orders and restricted areas
  8. ^ Sōma City Council membership list(in Japanese)
  9. ^ [1] Agency for Cultural Affairs (in Japanese)

Further readingEdit

Sasaki, Takashi (2013). Fukushima: vivir el desastre (in Spanish). Translated by F. Javier de Esteban Baquedano. Gijón, Spain: Satori Ediciones. ISBN 978-84-941125-3-9.

External linksEdit