The Kanto region in comparison to the rest of Japan
Closeup map of the areas within the Kanto region
|o Total||32,423.90 km2 (12,518.94 sq mi)|
(June 1, 2019)
|o Density||1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi)|
|o Total||$2.5 trillion|
|o Per capita||$60,000|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (JST)|
The Kanto region (?, Kant?-chih?) is a geographical area of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. In a common definition, the region includes the Greater Tokyo Area and encompasses seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba and Kanagawa. Within its boundaries, slightly more than 45 percent of the land area is the Kanto Plain. The rest consists of the hills and mountains that form the land borders. According to the official census on October 1, 2010, by the Japan Statistics Bureau, the population was 42,607,376, amounting to approximately one third of the total population of Japan.
The Kant? regional governors' association (?, Kant? chih? chijikai) assembles the prefectural governors of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka.
In the police organization of Japan, the National Police Agency's supervisory office for Kant? (?, Kant? kanku keisatsu-kyoku) is responsible for the Prefectural police departments of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Niigata, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka. Tokyo is not part of Kant? or any NPA region, its police has a dedicated liaison office with the national agency of its own.
The Kant? Regional Development Bureau (?, Kant? chih? seibi-kyoku) of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in the national government is responsible for eight prefectures generally (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamanashi) and parts of the waterways in two others (Nagano and Shizuoka).
The heartland of feudal power during the Kamakura period and again in the Edo period, Kanto became the center of modern development. Within the Greater Tokyo Area and especially the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area, Kanto houses not only Japan's seat of government but also the nation's largest group of universities and cultural institutions, the greatest population and a large industrial zone. Although most of the Kanto plain is used for residential, commercial or industrial construction, it is still farmed. Rice is the principal crop, although the zone around Tokyo and Yokohama has been landscaped to grow garden produce for the metropolitan market.
A watershed moment of Japan's modern history took place in the late Taish? period: the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923. The quake, which claimed more than 100,000 lives and ravaged the Tokyo and Yokohama areas, occurred at a time when Japan was still reeling from the economic recession in reaction to the high-flying years during World War I.
Operation Coronet, part of Operation Downfall, the proposed Allied invasion of Japan during World War II, was scheduled to land at the Kant? plain. Most of the United States military bases on the island of Honshu are situated on the Kant? plain. These include Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Yokota Air Base, Yokosuka Naval Base, and Camp Zama.
The name Kanto literally means "East of the Barrier". The name Kanto is nowadays generally considered to mean the region east (?) of the Hakone checkpoint (). An antonym of Kanto, "West of the Barrier" means Kansai region, which lies western Honshu and was the center of feudal Japan.
After the Great Kanto earthquake many people in Kanto started creating art with different varieties of colors. They made art of earthquake and small towns to symbolize the small towns destroyed in the quake.
The most often used subdivision of the region is dividing it to "North Kant?" (, Kita-Kant?), consisting of Ibaraki, Tochigi, and Gunma Prefectures, and "South Kant?" (, Minami-Kant?), consisting of Saitama (sometimes classified North),[by whom?] Chiba, the Tokyo Metropolis (sometimes singulated), and Kanagawa Prefectures. South Kant? is often regarded as synonymous with the Greater Tokyo Area. As part of Japan's attempts to predict earthquakes, an area roughly corresponding to South Kant? has been designated an 'Area of Intensified Observation' by the Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction.
The Japanese House of Representatives' divides it into the North Kant? (, Kita-Kant?) electorate which consists of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Saitama Prefectures, Tokyo electorate, and the South Kant? (, Minami-Kant?) electorate which consists of Chiba, Kanagawa and Yamanashi Prefectures. (Note that Yamanashi is out of Kant? region in the orthodox definition.)
This division is not often but sometimes used.
This division is sometimes used in economics and geography. The border can be modified if the topography is taken for prefectural boundaries.
The Japanese national government defines the National Capital Region (, Shuto-ken) as Kant? region plus Yamanashi Prefecture. Japan's national public broadcaster NHK uses Kant?-k?-shin-etsu () involving Yamanashi, Nagano and Niigata Prefectures for regional programming and administration.
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The Kant? region is the most highly developed, urbanized, and industrialized part of Japan. Tokyo and Yokohama form a single industrial complex with a concentration of light and heavy industry along Tokyo Bay. Other major cities in the area include Kawasaki (in Kanagawa Prefecture); Saitama (in Saitama Prefecture); and Chiba (in Chiba Prefecture). Smaller cities, farther away from the coast, house substantial light and automotive industries. The average population density reached 1,192 persons per square kilometre in 1991.