Place:Oita, Japan


Alt namesOitasource: Cambridge World Gazetteer (1990) p 306
Ōitasource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Ōita prefecturesource: Getty Vocabulary Program
Coordinates33.25°N 131.5°E
Located inJapan
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

is a prefecture of Japan on Kyūshū Island. The prefectural capital is the city of Ōita.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Around the 6th century Kyushu consisted of four regions: Tsukushi-no-kuni , Hi-no-kuni , and Toyo no kuni. Present day Oita was part of Toyo-no-kuni, which means "Abundant Land".

Toyo-no-kuni was later divided into two regions, upper and lower Toyo-no-kuni, called Bungo Province and Buzen Province.

After the Meiji Restoration, districts from Bungo and Buzen provinces were combined to form Ōita Prefecture. These provinces were divided among many local daimyo and thus a large castle town never formed in Ōita. From this time that whole area became known as "Toyo-no-kuni", which means "Land of Abundance".

The origins of the name Ōita are documented in a report from the early 8th century called the . According to the document, when Empress Keikō visited the Kyushu region, stopping first in Toyo-no-kuni, she exclaimed that 'This is a vast land, indeed. It shall be known as Okita-Kuni!' Okita-Kuni, meaning "Land of the Great Fields", later came to be written as "Ōita". Present day interpretations based on Ōita's topography state that Oita's name comes from "Okita", meaning "many fields", rather than "vast" or "great" field, because of Ōita's complex terrain.[1]

In the Edo period (1603–1867) the town of Hita was the government seat for the entire domain of Kyushu, which was directly controlled by the national government or shogun at that time. The region became well known for the money-lending industry based out of Hita. Merchants in Hita's Mameda and Kuma districts worked with the national government to create this money-lending industry known as Hita-kin.

Notable people in Ōita's history

  • Otomo Sorin (1530–1587): The Otomo family ruled over the Funai Domain, which is present day Ōita City, in the 16th century. Funai was a very internationalized city which engaged in trade and exchange with other nations. Sorin, the 21st leader of the Otomo clan, embraced Western culture enthusiastically and invited the missionary Francis Xavier to the city to promote Christianity. Sorin dreamed of creating a Christian nation; he was baptized and given the name "Don Francisco". Sorin died in Tsukumi.
  • Miura Baien (September 1, 1723–April 9, 1789): A scholar originally known as Susumu but called Baien after the name of his private school where he educated many scholars. Miura developed his own system of logic and wrote many works including his three famous words, , , and . He also worked in a hospital and had a good knowledge of astronomy. He hand made an astronomical globe that was passed down through many generations.[1] He spent his entire life in Tominaga Village which is the present day area of Aki Town in Kunisaki City. Miura Baien is considered one of Ōita's three sages along with Hoashi Banri and Hirose Tansō.
  •  : Miura Baien's pupil who expanded his academic ability into many fields including Confucianism, natural sciences, medicine and language. He taught himself Dutch to reference scientific publications for his eight-volume work Kyuritsu, which was considered the top work of Western natural science in Japan at that time. In 1832 he was made Minister for the Feudal Lord to fix the financial problems of the Hiji clan.[1] Banri Hoashi is considered one of Ōita's three sages along with Miura Baien and Hirose Tansō.
  •  : A Confucian scholar, poet and educator from a money-lending family in Hita. Ōita’s current governor Katsusada Hirose is a descendant of Tansō Hirose. In Edo period Japan, education was limited to samurai families and the rich. However, Hirose Tansō opened a school called meaning “all are welcome” and admitted students regardless of social status, age, or education level. The school’s methodology of a “self-administered work-study policy” is said to have had great influence on the modern day education system in Japan. Former Prime Minister Kiyoura Keigo was educated here, with other students who went on to become influential scholars, artists and politicians. The school’s remains were designated a historical site in 1932 and are a couple blocks from the original Hirose family house, where the Hirose Museum is. There, Tansō Hirose and other family members’ works are on display, with other original Hirose artifacts, hina dolls, tea ceremony utensils and more. Both are in Mameda Town, about a 10-minute walk from Hita Station. Tansō Hirose is considered one of the Oita's three sages along with Miura Baien and Hoashi Banri. An asteroid called 10009 Hirosetanso discovered by the University of Tokyo in 1977 was named after Tansō Hirose.
  • Fukuzawa Yukichi (1834–1901): Founded Japan's oldest institute of higher education, Keio University in Tokyo. Fukuzawa Yukichi grew up in the Nakatsu domain and is pictured on the 10,000 yen bill. He was influential in Japan's education system by promoting independence and self-reliance of the Japanese people at his classes as Keio-Gijuku University, known as present day Keio University, originally a school for Western studies. The university now educates in a range of fields and produces influential and prominent alumni.

Shrines and temples

Sasamuta-jinja and Yusuhara Hachiman-gū are the chief Shinto shrines (ichinomiya) in the prefecture.

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