Entries in Fukuoka City (15)


Sumiyoshi in Summer




Japan's Wild, Wild West

1. Japan’s Wild, Wild West

Despite consistently ranking as one of best cities in the world to live, shop, or eat, Fukuoka also has a reputation among the Japanese as being one of the wildest, most dangerous places in the entire country. Because of its reputation for violence and crime, the prefecture has been called “Ashura no Koku” (阿修羅の国).[1]

So, why the bad rap?

For one, Fukuoka prefecture often tops the country in number of shootings and bombings with hand grenades—yes, that’s hand grenades. The prefecture also has the ignominy of being a leader in accidents caused by drunk drivers. The rate of burglary is high, as is the total number of sex crimes and the rate of sex crimes, and so on.[2]

The cause of the high level of crime has been attributed to the large number of organized crime syndicates operating in the prefecture, its proximity to the Sea of Japan, which is said to facilitate smuggling and exile, and tougher anticrime measures in Kantō and Kansai.


[1] Ashura in Buddhism is the name of the lowest ranking deities of the Kāmadhātu (Buddhist cosmology). They are described as having three heads with three faces and four to six arms. The state of an Asura reflects the mental state of a human being obsessed with ego, force and violence, always looking for an excuse to get into a fight, angry with everyone and unable to maintain calm or solve problems peacefully. (Wikipedia)

[2] *Fukuoka also has the highest rate in Japan of unmarried women in their 20s and 30s. This is supposed to be a “bad thing”, but personally, I believe it adds to the city's livability.



Torikai Shrine



Fukuoka Boomtown

Fukuoka City Hall, completed in 1923, was unfortunately torn down about two decades ago.

   I stumbled across some interesting growth projections for the city of Fukuoka the other day. The first graph shows actual growth from 1975 to 2005.

   Of the eight cities studied, Fukuoka (福岡、■) has grown the most (over 150%) during those thirty years, followed by Sapporo (札幌, ▲, 145%+), Sendai (仙台, ▲,140%), and Tôkyô (東京, ■, 130%). Much of the growth here, I suspect, is coming from depopulation of areas outside of Fukuoka. Evidence of this can be seen in the steady decline of Kitakyûshû's population (北九州, ●) since the mid 80s. Similar declines have occured in cities throughout the area. I visited the former coal mining town of Ômuta a few weeks ago and learned that in its heyday the city had over 200,000 people. Today, the population is half that figure.

   The next graph shows growth projections for a number of cities in Japan over the next twenty-two years. Using 2005 as the starting point, Ôsaka City (大阪) is expected to to see it's population drop to just over 85% of its 2005 population by the year 2035. The only cities predicted to maintain their 2005 population levels over the next two decades are Fukoka (福岡市) and Tôkyô (東京). The greater metropolitan area of Fukuoka City (福岡都市) is also expected to maintain its 2005 population level.


Thanks, China!

   It seems like the more China develops and "modernizes", the more it impacts us here in Japan, and not always in the most positive of ways.

   At first, our biggest concern here in the western part of Japan was the Asian dust, known as kôsa or yellow sand in Japanese, which would blow in from the deserts of eastern and western China every spring; now, we must contend with China's smog, too.

   Last Saturday (Feb. 23), air pollution levels exceeded Japan's recommended limit with PM2.5 particulates reaching a density of 50.5ugm/m3. As densities above 35ugm/m3 pose a health hazard, the prefectural government issued a warning, advising residents to wear face masks and to forego hanging laundry out to dry.

   Every time it gets as bad as this, I can't help wonder what it must be like in China. It's an awfully steep price to pay for (cough-cough) economic growth. 




   This time last year I was only a few weeks away from a long trip that took me and my family to PDX, SFO and HNL. This Xmas we are grounded here: Ah, FUK.

   For a salacious photo of fuk, click here.

   More notable airport codes can be found at aviationhumor.