Iwate Prefecture

From Academic Kids

Template:Japanese prefecture

Iwate Prefecture (岩手県; Iwate-ken) is located in the Tohoku region on Honshu island, Japan. The capital is Morioka.



Iwate was historically part of Mutsu Province. It was only brought into the empire around 800.

In the Jomon period it was an area abundant in fishing and hunting. There was also Emishi settlements in the Kitakami Basin. The Emishi, which translates as either toad or shrimp barbarians, were regarded by contemporary chroniclers as a race apart living in an independent state with a different language - possibly a variant of Old Japanese. They were known for their tempers and their valour in battle. Whether they were a truly autonomous state and how precisely it was organised is not known, but it is probable that there was some sort of tribal or clan confederacy united by a monarchy.

It seems certain, however, that the Emishi were economically active and traded with Nara and Kyoto. Some describe the trade as 'tribute' but as compensation, preferably weapons, was paid in return this seems unlikely. As well as farming rice and cereals, the Emishi raised horses, mined gold, smelted iron and traded in goods obtained from abroad. The Emishi horses were larger and faster than other horses in Japan and were possibly originally imported. The Emishi also had contact with China and Korea.

It is not known whether the Emishi were a distinct racial group. It is possible that they were part of the Ainu race, or perhaps resulted from the mixing of the Ainu and Wa-Yamato (those who are now considered Japanese) cultures. What is certain is that they were considered by the authorities in Nara as being 'an alien people and culture that posed a threat to the expansion and consolodation of (their) empire'. (Yiengpruksawan, M.H., 1998, p. 19)

The central government steadily pushed northwards conquering and colonizing the northern areas from the 8th century, building many forts and garrisons. These were subject to guerilla attacks from the Emishi. Buddhist temples were also built with the aim of establishing the rulers in Nara as having a holy mandate. Whilst the Emishi appear to have had aboriginal gods they were converted and Emishi Buddhist communities existed around the forts and co-operated with the authorities. Emishi leaders also came to co-operate, and were placed in charge of administering the Emishi districts that had been created just below the southern borders of Iwate.

It was not until the end of the eighth century that the Nara authorities had penetrated deeply into Iwate, with Fort Shiwa, to the north of present day Morioka, constructed in 803.


  • Wikepedia (Japanese) 
  • Yiengpruksawan, M.H. Hiraizumi: Buddhist Art and Regional Politics in Twelfth Century Japan, Harvard University Asia Center, Cambridge MA, 1998


Iwate faces the Pacific Ocean to the east, and borders Aomori Prefecture on the north, Akita Prefecture on the west, and Miyagi Prefecture on the south. The prefecture has mountains in the west, north and east, with the valley of the Kitakami River running from north to south through the center of the province and including the capital. The coast is very rugged, with little in between the mountains and the sea.


Towns and villages

These are the towns and villages in each district.


Iwate's industry is concentrated around Morioka and specializes in semconductor and communication manufacturing.




Prefectural symbols


Basho visited and wrote about Iwate in the journey described in Oku no Hosomichi. Hiraizumi in particular inspired him.

External links


ar:محافظة إيواتيه

de:Prfektur Iwate es:Prefectura de Iwate eo:Iŭate (prefektujo) fr:Prfecture d'Iwate ja:岩手県 pt:Iwate sv:Iwate prefektur zh:岩手县


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