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History of Mito  水戸の歴史

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最終更新日:2008年8月22日 ページID:004008

History of Mito (from the past to the present)

It is speculated that people began to live in the land of Mito around the pre-ceramic age, over ten thousand years ago. Artifacts from this age include the Akatsuka Artifacts. Artifacts and shell mounds in several locations date back to the Jomon Era, such as the Babajiri artifacts and Ookushi Shell Mound. During the Yayoi Era, rice paddy cultivation began in ancient colonies as seen in the Otsuka-shinchi artifacts. After the 4th century, the power of the Yamato dynasty reached Mito, and ancient tombs began to be built. By the mid of 5th century, large-size ancient tombs were built, and the Atagoyama ancient tomb (a national historical site) still remains as an object of that time. The local government system of country, county, and village was organized by the Taika Restoration in 645, with Mito belonging to the Hitachinokuni-Naka County.
At the end of the Heian Era, Sukemoto Baba of the Taira clan built his residence on Mito plateau, and this is presumed to be the origin of the Mito Castle. After 15th century, the Edo clan took over Mito castle, but the Satake clan, whose power grew under the support of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, attacked the Edo clan, took over Mito castle and went on to become the most powerful feudal lord in the north of Kanto area in 1590.
Although, the Satake clan did actively support the Tokugawa clan in the battle at Sekigahara, they were transferred as a result to Akita by Ieyashu Tokugawa in 1602.
Ieyasu Tokugawa ruled the whole country. He concluded that Mito was the perfect spot to block threats from the non-Tokugawa lords in the Tohoku area, and sent his 11th son, Yorifusa (Ikou) with 25 Mangoku (the revenues or salaries of the Daimyo-class in units of rice) (It was increased to 35 mangoku later). Thus one of the three most prominent branches of the Tokugawa family began with the establishment of the Mito-Tokugawa family.
After Yorifusa became the regional lord, expansion and improvement of the castle town, including the refurbishment of the Mito castle began. The castle town of Uwamachi was also expanded, and a new town for the local townspeople of Uwamachi was built in the lowlands on the east side of (not Senba-)lake. This area became the trade and industrial heart of the city. It was during that time that the overall layout of the present day city of Mito was brought forth.
Descendants of Yorifusa continued to serve as lord of Mito Region domain for many generations until the abolition of the clan-system and the establishment of prefectures in 1871. Of the hisorical Regional Lords, the Second Lord, Mitsukuni (gikou), worked on the editing of the “Dai nihon-shi” (Great Japan History), and the Ninth Lord, Nariaki (Rekkou), established the regional school “Koudoukan”. These leaders were outstanding, and left a legacy regarding administration and government.

The history fo Mito (the birth of Mito)

In 1867, power was transferred back to the emperor by Yoshinobu Tokugawa, the Fifteenth Shogun, the seventh son of Nariaki, (the Ninth Regional Lord) but the Mito Region remained in conflict until the Meiji Restoration.
In 1871, according the system for the abolition of clans and the establishment of prefectures, the Mito Region became , and the prefectural office was established in koudoukan. Furthermore, in the same year, Ibaraki prefecture was established through the integration of prefectures, with Mito becoming the prefectural capital.
According to the records of the “City, town, and village status”, Mito city was created in 1888 as one of the first 31 cities to be given city status in Japan on April 1, 1889, by incorporating part of the surrounding villages. The first city mayor was Masayoshi Hattori, the number of residences was 5,052, and the population was 25,591.

Atago-yama ArtifactsThree story Mito castleCity hall at the time of establishment of city statusCity area in Taishou EraCity area at present

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