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Kyushu region in Japan
Kyushu region in Japan
Waters Pacific Ocean
Geographical location 32 ° 30 ′  N , 131 ° 0 ′  E Coordinates: 32 ° 30 ′  N , 131 ° 0 ′  E
Kyushu (Japan)
surface 36,782.35 km²
Highest elevation Kujū-san
1788  m
Residents 13,061,879 (region, excluding Okinawa) (December 1, 2014)
355 inhabitants / km²
Satellite image 2009
Satellite image 2009
Detailed map of Kyūshū without Okinawa

Kyūshū ( Japanese 九州 , listen ? / I , German "nine provinces" ) is the third largest and second most populous main island of Japan with an area of ​​36,782.35 km² and 13 million inhabitants (as of December 1, 2014) . Audio file / audio sample  

The Kyūshū region includes other, smaller, islands, often the islands of Okinawa Prefecture .


Its name comes from the original division of the island into nine provinces ( Chikuzen , Hizen , Chikugo , Higo , Satsuma , Ōsumi , Hyūga , Bungo and Buzen ). Historical names for Kyushu are:

  • Kyūkoku ( 九 国 , German: "nine countries"),
  • Chinzei ( 鎮西 , German: "pacified west") and
  • Tsukushi-no-shima ( 筑紫 島 , German: "Island of Tsukushi").


The island of Kyushu is the southernmost of the four main islands of Japan. Kyushu is very mountainous. On top of it is the Aso (1592 m), the most active volcano in Japan. Other active volcanoes are the Sakurajima (near Kagoshima ) and the Unzen (near Nagasaki ).

The region, without Okinawa prefecture, also includes 2159 other islands with a total area of ​​5450 km².

The Korea Strait is to the north, the East China Sea to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Seto Inland Sea to the east . As part of the Seto Inland Sea, only the 600-meter width of the Kammon Strait separates Kyūshū from the island of Honshū in the north, while the Hōyo Strait and the Bungo Strait separate Kyūshū from Shikoku Island in the northeast . (The Bungo Strait is not always counted as part of the Seto Inland Sea.) In Westkyūshū are the Ariake Sea , Yatsushiro Lake and the Ōmura Bay , which are connected to the East China Sea by straits. The Aso-Kujū National Park includes the Aso , one of the most active volcanoes in Japan, and the Kujū-san .


As the Kyūshū region ( 九州 地方 , Kyūshū-chihō ), it is one of the Japanese regions . In addition to the island of Kyūshū, a number of smaller islands such as Tsushima , the Goto and the Satsunan Islands to the south belong to the narrower region of Kyūshū. This then extends over seven prefectures over an area of ​​42,190.90 km² with 13,189,193 inhabitants (as of February 1, 2011). The region was historically also called Saikaidō ( 西海 道 , dt. "West Sea District ").

In a broader sense, the Ryūkyū Islands - d. H. the region then includes all of the Nansei Islands - including Okinawa Prefecture. The area is then 44,466.91 km² with 14,585,318 inhabitants (as of February 1, 2011). According to this definition, the region is also known as Kyūshū-Okinawa ( 九州 ・ 沖 縄 地方 , Kyūshū-Okinawa-chihō ).

The Kyūshū region is now divided into seven or eight prefectures , depending on the definition :

  1. Flag of Fukuoka Prefecture.svg Fukuoka
  2. Flag of Saga Prefecture.svg saga
  3. Flag of Nagasaki Prefecture.svg Nagasaki
  4. Flag of Kumamoto Prefecture.svg Kumamoto
  5. Flag of Oita Prefecture.svg Ōita
  6. Flag of Miyazaki Prefecture.svg Miyazaki
  7. Flag of Kagoshima Prefecture.svg Kagoshima
  8. Flag of Okinawa Prefecture.svg Okinawa


The largest and most important city on Kyushu is Fukuoka with a port, industry and numerous administrations. The second largest city Kitakyūshū is characterized by heavy industry (steel mills). Other important cities are Ōmuta (chemical industry), Nagasaki (port), Kumamoto (semiconductor industry) and Kagoshima . The main agricultural products are rice , tea , tobacco , table potatoes and soy . In addition, silk produced.


The Kammon Strait is a shipping route; it is crossed by the Kammon Bridge and numerous tunnels. Rail and road tunnels have been in operation there since the middle of the 20th century.
The Ōita central airport went into operation in 1988. Since 1975 Hakata-ku has been connected to
Shin-Ōsaka on Honshū via the San'yō Shinkansen through the 18,713 meter long Shin Kanmon tunnel . The Kyūshū Shinkansen , the southern part of which has been in operation since 2004, has been running to Kagoshima since 2011 .

National roads 3 , 10 , 34 and 35 have been established there since 1952 . Between Kitakyushu and Kagoshima, the 3 runs west on the island and the 10 runs east. The 34 branches off from the 3 and leads to Nagasaki. From this the 35 branches off to Sasebo. In 1953 the national roads 198 to 226 were added as 2nd order roads.


The southern islands and parts of Kagoshima Prefecture have a subtropical climate , most of Kyushu is in the warm-temperate climate zone.



It is believed that today's Japanese civilization originated on Kyūshū. According to Japanese mythology in the oldest chronicles Kojiki and Nihonshoki , the family of the Tennō (emperor) comes from Kyūshū. Historically, Nordkyūshū is one of the possible locations of Yamatai , a state in the Chinese Weizhi Worenchuan ( Chinese  魏志 倭人 傳  /  魏志 倭人 传 , W.-G. Wei-chih Wo-jen-chuan , Japanese. 魏志 倭人 伝 , Gishi Wajinden , German "Records of Wei : Lives of the People of Wa"), a part of the Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms , is mentioned for the 3rd century. From this it is said there that the queen Himiko ruled him. Because Kyūshū is closer to the Asian mainland than the other main Japanese islands, trade between Kyūshū and other East Asian countries has been very active from ancient times until today.

The Weizhi Worenchuan mentions a large number of other small states on Kyūshū for the time mentioned, including Na (probably in Hakata Bay or Nanotsu) and Ito (probably in the Itoshima plain ), both near Fukuoka . A significant settlement was the Yoshinogari site near the Ariake Sea from the 4th century BC, which had a size of almost 40 hectares. It was excavated in the 1980s and partially reconstructed.

For the later period, the Kojiki mentions that the island was divided into four provinces: Tsukushi (in Kojiki mythologically also called Shira-bi-wake 白日 別 “White Sun Boy”) in the north, Toyo ( Toyo-bi-wake 豊 日別 "Lush-sun-boy") in the east, Hi ( Take-hi-mukahi-toyo-kuji-eing-wake 建 日 向日 豊 久 士 比 泥 別 "Brave sun-turned, lush-wonderful-master-boy") in the west and middle and Kumaso ( Take-bi-wake 建 日 別 "Brave sun boy") in the south. Hyūga is mentioned for the first time in the 7th century and Tsukushi was split up into Chikuzen and Chikugo, Toyo into Bungo and Buzen, and Hi into Hizen and Higo.

During the reign of Empress Saimei , the Korean ally Baekje was subjugated by Silla and Tang China in 660 , whereupon the Empress supported the rebels and, for greater effectiveness, 661 the seat of government and thus the capital of Japan from Asuka-kyō in the province of Yamato to Asakura in the Tsukushi province and thus closer to Korea. After the devastating defeat of Japan at the Battle of Hakusukinoe, Japan feared an invasion from Silla and China and had the coasts of Kyūshū fortified and border troops ( sakimori ) set up, whereupon the fortresses Mizuki ( 水城 ), Ōno-jō ( 大野 城 ) and Kii-jō ( 基 肄 城 ) emerged and Kyūshū was placed under the special military administration of the newly established Dazaifu Office .

At the beginning of the 8th century there were several disputes with the Hayato ( 隼 人 ) in southern Kyūshū, in the course of which 702 the provinces of Satsuma and Tane and 713 Ōsumi emerged. In 720 the Hayato rose again and in 721 they were completely subdued. 824 Tane was annexed to Ōsumi and for the next thousand years Kyūshū was divided into the eponymous nine provinces.

middle Ages

In 1185 the naval battle of Dan-no-ura took place on Shimonoseki Strait between Kyushu and Honshu , during which the Taira clan, who dominated Japanese politics, was defeated by the Minamoto , who eventually established the Kamakura shogunate . In 1274 a Mongolian fleet with 20,000 to 40,000 men landed in Hakata Bay, where the Battle of Bun'ei took place. Another invasion with almost 150,000 men took place in 1281 and could be repulsed again in the Battle of Koan . Both Mongol invasions failed mainly due to severe storms that decimated the invasion fleets and that were interpreted by the Japanese as a “divine wind” ( kamikaze ). Domestically, the immense military and financial costs led to a weakening and ultimately to the fall of the shogunate.

After the fall of the subsequent Ashikaga shogunate , a civil war ( Sengoku period ) that lasted almost a hundred years broke out . Important regional rulers ( daimyō ) of this time on Kyushu were the Ōtomo in the northeast, the Ryūzōji in the northwest, the Tachibana in the west, the Shimazu in the southwest and the Itō in the southeast.

During this time, the first contact with Europeans took place when Portuguese sailors ran aground on the island of Tanegashima . The Japanese took over the knowledge about muzzle-loading rifles from these and developed the Tanegashima arquebus from this , which was used in large numbers during the civil war. This contact marked the beginning of the era of the Namban trade , in which Japan traded intensively with Europe, mainly through Kyushu, and imported knowledge and technology from all areas. Some regional rulers of Kyushu also converted to the Christian faith.

Modern times

After Toyotomi Hideyoshi reunified the empire, he began the invasion of Korea from Kyushu (1592–1598). As a side effect, potters were brought in from Korea who made Kyushu a center for porcelain manufacturing ( Imari porcelain and Kakiemon porcelain ). The Shimabara uprising of Christian farmers took place in 1637/8 . The Tokugawa Shogunate, founded in 1603, forced the closure of Japan in 1639 and expelled all foreigners, with the exception of the Dutch, who operated a trading post on Dejima in Nagasaki Bay in eastern Kyushu.

This was used to continue exchanges between Europe and Japan ( Rangaku ). The violent opening of Japan by Matthew Perry in 1853 made the daimyo aware of the weakness of the shogunate, with the Shimazu from Satsuma in southwestern Kyushu and Chōshū at the head of the opposition to the shogunate, in the course of which it was abolished and in 1868 Imperial rule was restored ( Meiji restoration ).


In the new government, politicians from Satsuma and Chōshū were at the top ( Meiji oligarchy ) until the 1920s . During the modernization of Japan, Kyushu played a large part in this with its coal wealth and ports, which made Nagasaki in particular a center of the Japanese shipbuilding and steel industries. During the Second World War , the city was therefore the target of the second atomic bomb . After the end of the war, the manufacturing industry was built up in Kyushu, mainly because of its proximity to the continent, as was tourism.


The Hoenn region from the Pokémon games was modeled on the island.


Web links

Commons : Kyushu  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. 島 面積 . (PDF; 136 kB) (No longer available online.) Kokudo Chiriin , October 1, 2015, archived from the original on June 15, 2016 ; Retrieved August 1, 2016 (Japanese). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Japan Statistical Yearbook 2014 , Table 1-1: Islands, Area and Length of Coastline of National Land , Online ( Memento of the original from March 28, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ( MS Excel ; 29 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Karl Florenz: The historical sources of the Shinto religion. Translated and explained from Old Japanese and Chinese . Severus, Hamburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-95801-038-3 , pp. 15 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  4. ^ Basil Hall Chamberlain : A Translation of the “Ko-Ji-Ki” . 1883 ( online ).
  5. ^ A b c Hugh Cortazzi: Review Kyushu, Gateway to Japan: A Concise History. Retrieved September 16, 2017 .
  6. Hoenn in the Pokéwiki.