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Local History

[Ancient Period]

Around the time of the Taika Reforms (AD645) the geographic area now known as the Hokuriku Region was the province of Koshi. Later, at the end of the 7th century, the land was divided into three provinces Echizen, Etchu, and Echigo and the government was set up in Fushiki, Takaoka. In the 2nd year of Taiho (702) jurisdiction over four counties that had been a part of Etchu Province, including Kubiki and Uonuma, was transferred to Echigo Province and in the 13th year of Tempyo (741), the Noto region was absorbed by Etchu Province. The first Lord of Etchu Province who appeared in official documents was Taguchi Toshitari, appointed in the 4th year of Tenpyo, followed by Man’yo poet Otomo no Yakamochi, who was appointed as the Lord of Etchu in the 18th year of Tempyo (746).

With the separation of the Noto region from Etchu Province in the 1st year of Tempyo Houji (757), Etchu assumed the same borders as present-day Toyama Prefecture.

[Feudal Period]

The feudal period in Japan brought with it civil war, caused by a weakening in the ruling samurai ranks. Battle after battle ensued including the battle of Kurikara, won by Kiso Yoshinaka, the rebellious actions of the Ikko-ikki (groups of Pure Land sect warrior monks and farmers who rose up against samurai rule in the 15th and 16th centuries), and the bloodbath accompanying the rise to power of the warlords Uesugi Kenshin and Oda Nobunaga.

[Late Feudal Period]

Etchu Province was, for the most part, again reunified in the 11th year of Tensho (1583) under the leadership of Sassa Narimasa, one of Oda Nobunaga’s generals. Following that event, Tonami, Imizu, Nei, and Niikawa counties became part of the Kaga Province under the control of the Maeda family. In the 16th year of Kannei (1639), Nei County and part of Niikawa County were given to the Toyama Clan of which Maeda Toshitsugu became the first ruler of the Toyama Clan.

A network of irrigation ditches was dug during the Edo Period to deal with regular heavy flooding and to be utilized in rice farming. Various industries sprung up such as agriculture and medicine making. Also during this period, Fushiki and Iwase Ports flourished as stops for the Kitamaebune trade ships, dealing in kelp, herring, sake, rice, and other products.

[Modern to Contemporary]

As a result of the abolition of the han (clan) system and establishment of the prefecture system in the 4th year of Meiji (1871), Etchu Province was divided with the former Toyama Clan lands becoming Toyama Prefecture and the Kaga lands becoming part of Kanazawa Prefecture. During November of the same year, Niikawa and Tonami counties were added to Toyama Prefecture. As a result the prefecture was renamed Niikawa Prefecture and the capital was established in Uozu. Also, at the same time Imizu County was made a part of Nanao Prefecture but was again moved during the next year (1872), and thus was the final piece of the former Etchu Province to become a part of Niikawa Prefecture. The capital of this new prefecture was established in Toyama. This did not last however, as the entire prefecture was absorbed by Ishikawa Prefecture in the 9th year of Meiji (1876).

This mass merge gave rise to a contest of opinion between the Kaga-Noto side, which wanted to put all its efforts into the building of roads in Kanazawa and the Etchu side, which desired to push forward its water control projects. This argument ended with Monzaburo Yonezawa leading a successful movement to separate Ishikawa Prefecture into two prefectures in May of the 16th year of Meiji (1883). Masafumi Kunishige was appointed as the first governor of Toyama Prefecture and the prefectural office was established on the site of the old Toyama Castle. In July, the first voting of the prefectural asssembly was held and Hisayuki Takebe was elected as the first assembly chairman. During the 22nd year of Meiji (1889), the prefecture was organized into 2 cities (Toyama and Takaoka), 31 towns, and 238 villages.

Toyama City was devastated by airborne attacks in August of the 20th year of Showa (1945), but quickly rebounded and by December had began implementing its city planning project based on War Relief Committee Order No. 1.
The first public gubernatorial election was held in the 22nd year of Showa (1947). Seiichi Hane, the 35th appointed governor stepped down and Tetsuji Tachi was sworn in as the first elected governor of Toyama Prefecture.
During the following years, a series of mergers took place and in the 44th year of Showa (1969) 9 cities, 18 towns, and 8 villages were established. This is the Toyama that we know today.

In recent years, the topic of merging has again come up and in November of the 16th year of Heisei (2004) the new Tonami and Nanto cities were born. Five months later, in April of the 17th year of Heisei (2005) a series of mergers gave birth to the new Toyama City as well.

In anticipation of the coming importance of the Japan Sea region, Toyama has worked to form relationships and head exchanges with other countries in the region. Friendly relations have been formed with Primorsky, Russia, Liaoning Province, China and others. Toyama is striving to become a base for active exchange in the Japan Sea region.



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