‘Kitakyushu City’, a miracle in the history of Japanese local governments where five cities merged into a large-scale city.

投稿日:2020年6月7日 更新日:

Five cities, Tobata, Yahata, Kokura, Wakamatsu and Moji, merged into a large-scale city called ‘Kitakyushu City’ located in the northernmost of Kyushu region as the government-designated ordinance city in 1963 (Showa 38). These five cities were famous for new and heavy industries represented by the production of coal and steel and their related businesses in the 1890s, the middle of the Meiji Period. The necessity of merging these cities into one large-scale city in order to accomplish more effective operations and marketing had been advocated until 1963. Actual merger movements were actively held three times before and after the Second World War—in 1934 (Showa 9), 1944 (Showa 19) and 1947 (Showa 22). However, these movements, which were promoted under the leadership of the central and local governments, were not well received by the citizens, and all three of these movements disappeared within a few years.

The new movements for the large-scale merger of these five cities took place along with the high economic growth of Japan in about 1960 (Showa 35). Unlike the past movements, all mayors and other leaders of the five cities took initiatives and a great number of citizens supported them in democratic and cooperative ways. As a matter of fact, they faced many difficulties in administrative procedures in those five municipal councils, and coordination among the municipal council members took time. However, on February 10, 1963 (Showa 38), all five cities merged into ‘Kitakyushu City’ at last. It was exceptionally rare in the world that five independent municipalities merged into one large-scale city of one million people on an equal footing. In April 1964, UN dispatched an investigation team to ‘Kitakyushu City’ in order to study the situation. As for the city name, although ‘Saikyo City’ ranked first in the ballot, ‘Kitakyushu City’ was officially adopted. Please note that Kitakyushu City currently consists of seven wards and not five.