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Fukuoka City
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LastUpDate: April 10, 2009
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Hakata Culture vol.4


Fukuoka City or Hakata City?

Fukuoka City or Hakata City picture

In April 1889, the government issued a regulation for municipalization, following great controversy throughout the previous year over whether to name the area Fukuoka City or Hakata City. The population in the Hakata district, as of 1 April 1889, was 25,677. In the Fukuoka district, the population was 20,410. There were 1,530 people who did not belong to either district. Originally the area was called Hakata, however, in 1600 a Japanese warlord, Nagamasa Kuroda, named the area Fukuoka as a tribute to the land of his ancestors, Bizen Fukuoka (Bizen is now called Okayama). Since then, the area of the city located east of the River Naka, in the Nakasu region, has been known as Hakata, and the area to the west of the river has been known as Fukuoka.

A consensus of opinion could not be reached on what the new name of the city should be, Fukuoka - a proud samurai town - or Hakata - the port and merchant district. In February 1890, during a local council meeting, one of the legislators suggested changing the name of the city. There were 17 legislators from the Hakata district, and 13 from the Fukuoka district (including the council chairman). Out of all the legislators, two from the Hakata side and one from the Fukuoka side failed to turn up. (Some believe that they were locked in toilets in order to prevent them from going!) Each legislator had to vote for their preference. The result was that the votes were split 13-13. Due to the stalemate, the chairman of the council, who had been a samurai in the former Fukuoka Domain, switched seats with his proxy to vote as a regular council member. The revote ended with the same 13-13 result, and the name "Fukuoka" was kept.

In return, the name Hakata was chosen for the new railway station that had just opened. This is how the confusion began between the names of Fukuoka City and Hakata Station. This can be very confusing for travelers to the city. For example, when the shinkansen reaches Fukuoka at Hakata station, the announcement states, 'We are now in Hakata.' Some hotels and other facilities in Fukuoka are named "...Hakata." Conversely, some hotels in the Hakata district include the name "Fukuoka."

Here is another example of these two confusing names. I noticed on television about ten years ago that a well known band was introduced as coming from "Hakata City." The television program was produced in Tokyo. These two names confuse even the people who are engaged in the media. However, you could say that the two names add to the charm of Fukuoka City.


 Kimiyo Sasaki



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福岡市か博多市か!?

 明治22年(1889)4月、政府から市制と町村制の公布が行われました。この1年くらい前から新市名を福岡市にするのか博多市にするのかで、大論争が巻き起こっていたのです。1889年4月1日現在で人口は博多部が25,677人、福岡部は20,410人で、そのどちらにも属さないところに1,530人が住んでいたそうです。もともとは博多と呼ばれていた地に、1600年、武将・黒田長政が先祖の地であった備前(岡山)福岡にあやかって、城下町の名前を福岡としました。それ以来、中洲を流れる那珂川を境に東を博多、西を福岡と呼ぶようになったのです。

 誇り高い武士の町・福岡と、古代から港を開き、商人の町として栄えてきた博多の地名を残す戦いです。住民も一歩も譲れません。翌年の明治23年(1890)2月の議会で議員の一人が「市名変更の議」なるものを出し、議論百出。議員は博多17名、福岡は13名だったのですが、大詰めの議会で博多部の議員4名が欠席(トイレに軟禁されたという噂も)、13票対13票の同数に割れたところで、旧福岡藩の武士だった議長が議長席を降りて1議員として投票。もめにもめた結果、1票差で福岡市になったのでした。

 その代わりということで、開通したばかりの鉄道の駅名は博多駅。これがまぎらわしい福岡市と博多駅誕生のお話です。博多駅に到着すると「はかた~」という案内なので、旅行者にもここが博多なのか福岡なのかが分かりにくい。さらに、ホテル名も施設名も福岡エリアにあるのに「〇〇博多」と名付けられていたり、博多部にあるのに「福岡〇〇」というのもありますもんねえ。ちなみに、私は10年ほど前のテレビ番組でチューリップを紹介するプロフィールの中に「出身…博多市」とあったのを見逃しませんでした。それは東京で制作された番組だったのですが、マスコミにおいてすら、このような混乱が起こる都市名なのです。でも、この2つの名称が福岡市の魅力を高めていると思うのですが…。


 福岡市広報課長 佐々木 喜美代


※チューリップとは
 財津和夫をリーダーに1970年に結成された福岡出身のグループ。ロックでもフォークでもない新しい音楽分野ニューミュージックを開拓した。1972年「魔法の黄色い靴」でメジャーデビュー。博多への思いを綴った「博多っ子純情」も名曲。