Japan: Ishinomaki

Ishinomaki (石巻市 Ishinomaki-shi) is a city located in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. As of 28 February 2017, the city has an estimated population of 146,993, and a population density of 269 persons per km2 in 61,233 households. The total area of the city is 554.58 square kilometres (214.12 sq mi).

Ishinomaki is in northeastern Miyagi Prefecture. The city borders on Matsushima Bay to the south and Kesennuma Bay to the north, with the Kitakami Mountains to the west. Its coastline forms part of the Sanriku Fukkō National Park, which stretches north to Aomori Prefecture. Ishinomaki includes Tashirojima (also known as "Cat Island"), Ajishima, and Kinkasan, three islands off the south coast of Oshika Peninsula.

The area of present-day Ishinomaki was part of ancient Mutsu Province. During the Sengoku period, the area was contested by various samurai clans before the area came under the control of the Date clan of Sendai Domain during the Edo period. The town prospered as a major port and transshipment center for coastal shipping between Edo and northern Japan. The town of Ishinomaki was established within Oshika District on June 1, 1889 with the establishment of the modern municipalities system.

The modern city was founded on April 1, 1933. On April 1, 2005, Ishinomaki absorbed the neighboring towns of Kahoku, Kanan, Kitakami, Monou and Ogatsu, and the town of Oshika to more than quadruple its area and add nearly 60,000 people to its population.

The town of Ogatsu is regionally famous for its inkstones and has an annual scallop festival in the summer. Ayukawa, a town in Oshika, was formerly a base for several ships in Japan's whaling fleet.

As of 17 June 2011, a total of 3,097 deaths had been confirmed in Ishinomaki due to the tsunami, with 2,770 unaccounted for. Approximately 29,000 city residents lost their homes.

Ishinomaki employs several foreigners to teach English in all of its elementary and junior high schools, as well as the two municipal high schools. American teacher Taylor Anderson was killed by the tsunami. Since her death, her family has been active in supporting the Ishinomaki school district, and has set up programs to further English education.

The earthquake shifted the city southeast and downward, lowering it by as much as 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) in some areas and causing it to flood twice daily at high tide. A once sandy beach in the Kadonowaki area completely disappeared and tides now reach the wall that once separated the beach from the road. Near the Mangakan Island, a walkway with benches was partially submerged in the river.

Miyagi Prefecture was formerly part of the province of Mutsu. Mutsu Province, on northern Honshu, was one of the last provinces to be formed as land was taken from the indigenous Emishi, and became the largest as it expanded northward. The ancient capital was at Taga-jō in modern Miyagi Prefecture.

In the third month of second year of the Wadō era (709), there was an uprising against governmental authority in Mutsu Province and in nearby Echigo Province. Troops were promptly dispatched to subdue the revolt.

In Wadō 5 (712), the land of Mutsu Province was administratively separated from Dewa Province. Empress Genmei's Daijō-kan continued to organize other cadastral changes in the provincial map of the Nara period, as in the following year when Mimasaka Province was divided from Bizen Province; Hyūga Province was sundered from Ōsumi Province; and Tanba Province was severed from Tango Province.

During the Sengoku period various clans ruled different parts of the province. The Uesugi clan had a castle town at Wakamatsu in the south, the Nanbu clan at Morioka in the north, and Date Masamune, a close ally of the Tokugawa, established Sendai, which is now the largest town of the Tōhoku region.

Although Miyagi has a good deal of fishing and agriculture, producing a great deal of rice and livestock, it is dominated by the manufacturing industries around Sendai, particularly electronics, appliances, and food processing.

As of March 2011, the prefecture produced 4.7% of Japan's rice, 23% of oysters, and 15.9% of sauries.

In July 2011, the Japanese government decided to ban all shipments of beef cattle from northeast Miyagi Prefecture over fears of radioactive contamination. This has since been rescinded.

Masamune, feudal lord of Date clan, expanded trade in the Tōhoku region. Although initially faced with attacks by hostile clans, he managed to overcome them after a few defeats and eventually ruled one of the largest fiefdoms of the later Tokugawa shogunate. He built many palaces and worked on many projects to beautify the region. He is also known to have encouraged foreigners to come to his land. Even though he funded and promoted an envoy to establish relations with the Pope in Rome, he was likely motivated at least in part by a desire for foreign technology, similar to that of other lords, such as Oda Nobunaga. Further, once Tokugawa Ieyasu outlawed Christianity, Masamune reversed his position, and though disliking it, let Ieyasu persecute Christians in his domain. For 270 years, Tōhoku remained a place of tourism, trade and prosperity. Matsushima, for instance, a series of tiny islands, was praised for its beauty and serenity by the wandering haiku poet Matsuo Bashō.

He showed sympathy for Christian missionaries and traders in Japan. In addition to allowing them to come and preach in his province, he also released the prisoner and missionary Padre Sotelo from the hands of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Date Masamune allowed Sotelo as well as other missionaries to practice their religion and win converts in Tōhoku.

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