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Pronouncing Fukuoka

Roughly, the "foo" as in "food", the "quo" as in "quote" and the "ca" as in "cat". In fact the "foo" is so soft it could almost be a "hu" (as in "hook").

foo-quo-ca or f/hu-quo-ca.

What is someone from Fukuoka called?

Just as someone from London is known as a "Londoner" and someone from New York is known as a "New Yorker", someone from Fukuoka is known as a "Fukuokan".

What is the diminutive form of "Fukuoka".

You mean like Hong Kong is known as "Honkers" and Manchester is known as "Manc"? In that sense, for reasons unclear to me, "Fukuoka", does not have a diminutive form and is always referred to by its full name. :)

When you go to Fukuoka by air, your baggage tag will announce to the world that you are flying in to FUK.

MODERN FUKUOKA

Fukuoka is sometimes also known as "Hakata" - the name of the 2000 year old merchant city that was amalgamated with the 400 year old castle town of Fukuoka in 1967 to form the modern city. Hakata Station is the city's main transport hub and is the southern terminus of the shinkansen ("bullet train") to Tokyo.

Fukuoka is the 8th largest city in Japan. It is surrounded by mountains on three sides, with Hakata Bay on the 4th. (Where the famous "kamikaze", or "wind of god" destroyed the Mongol fleet 700-odd years ago.)

The city is about 70 miles from Pusan in Korea and 550 miles from Tokyo. It has an International airport with direct flights to many world cities and is the dominant city in Kyushu.

It offers good food, good living, easy access to the countryside and sea and is usually in the top three of "Asiaweek's" annual roundup of best cities in which to live in Asia. It is internationalizing rapidly and is becoming something of an Asian cultural and economic hub.

In short, good communications, a great transport infrastructure, excellent conference facilities, fabulous food, open, friendly people and some of the most beautiful women on God's green earth. Who could wish for more?

Fukuoka is famous for:

Hakata Mentaiko: - spicy fish eggs.

Hakata Ningyou: Brightly painted porcelain dolls.

Hakata-ko: The beauty and passion of Hakata women is highly regarded in Japan.

Yatai: food stalls - tiny restaurants in the street....

... Dontaku: Large street parade over three days in May commemorating nobody is terribly sure what...

... Yamagasa: nationally famous festival in which teams compete to race brightly coloured floats through the street. Unlike most such festivals, these races are SERIOUS and have, very occasionally, resulted in discreet honourable fisticuffs - which makes them far more fun to watch! Asian Month: Culture/music/dance/food festival in which many countries in the region participate.

HISTORY OF FUKUOKA

For a significant portion of Japan's early history people coming to or leaving the country went through Fukuoka. Just 70 miles from the Korean peninsular. Fukuoka was the main conduit for continental influences, particularly Chinese influences, at a time when China was one of the world's most significant and advanced civilizations. Even something as "Japanese" as rice-farming was possibly introduced to Japan through Kyushu around 500BC .The "Kin-in" a gold seal, was presented to a local ruler by the Han Dynasty emperor Guan Wan in 57AD - it is currently in the Fukuoka City Museum after being turned up by a farmer in Shikanoshima. Although tiny, it demonstrates the significance and importance of the city at that time.

There are numerous burial grounds in the prefecture - particularly to the west of Fukuoka city, dating back to the Yamato period which contain numerous trade goods imported from abroad.

In the 10th century Dazaifu, just outside the city, became the administrative centre of northern Kyushu..

Mongolian Invasion: Gateways, of course, attract undesirables and having bored of terrorising the continent the great Mongol Kublai Khan (as undesirable as they come), turned his attention to "Zipangu". His first invasion was compromised by a combination of incompetence and storms but it was the second invasion, in 1281, destroyed by the famous "kamikaze" (or "wind of god") that marked the end of his Japanese ambitions. (The tourist books do not mention it - but I think one of the most romantic trips one can make in Fukuoka is take the small, cheap municipal ferry across the bay to Shikanoshima, climb the hill to the tiny, slightly ramshackle temple and look back across Hakata Bay. Editor). Although the city has numerous reminders of this most significant of events in Japanese history, including bits of the Mongol Invasion wall, it makes less of it than it might. (Perhaps the slogan "Kamikaze City Fukuoka!" did not have quite the ring the modern city wanted...)

In 1601 Japan had been largely unified and the feudal lord was Chikusen Nagamasu - who decided to build a castle (as feudal lords do). The result was an enormous series of fortifications, never really finished and now ruined, named "Fukuoka" castle after his (thoroughly obscure) birthplace. At this time the main merchant and trading city was still know as Hakata. The Samurai town that grew up around the city was known, logically enough, as "Fukuoka". (Between the two - and enjoyed by both - was the "water trade" area of Nakasu - built on a sandbank in the middle of the river Naka.

The castle grounds are now a park - all that remains are parts of the walls and fortifications and a few towers.

As Japan industrialized the coal and natural resources of the region became important and Fukuoka, ideally placed for trade, became strong. Slaves from other parts of Asia and POW's, were imported to work and die in the mines of Chikuho. Fukuoka was pretty much flattened in World War Two - photographs of the central area of the city show - nothing....

Post war, Fukuoka was home to the USAF at Itazuke airbase (now Fukuoka airport) and Saitozaki. Atomic bombs are alleged to have been stored in the hills of Hakata-no-mori in the 1950's. Marilyn Monroe honeymooned here...