Kokura (小倉) is an ancient castle town and the center of Kitakyushu, Japan, guarding, via its suburb Moji, the Straits of Shimonoseki between Honshu and Kyushu. Kokura is also the name of the penultimate station on the southbound Sanyo Shinkansen line, which is owned by JR West. Ferries connect Kokura with Matsuyama on Shikoku, and Busan in Korea.
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Kokura obtained municipality status in 1900. When the city of Kitakyushu was created in 1963, it was divided into Kokura Kita ward in the north, and Kokura Minami ward in the south. The Ogasawara and Hosokawa clans were Daimyos at Kokura castle.
Miyamoto Musashi, samurai swordman, author of The Book of Five Rings and founder of the Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryū, famous for its use of two swords, lived in the Kokura castle under the patronage of the Ogasawara and Hosokawa clans briefly during 1634.
Kokura was the primary target of the nuclear weapon "Fat Man" on August 9, 1945, but on the morning of the raid, the city was obscured by clouds and smoke from an earlier firebombing of the neighboring city of Yahata. Since the mission commander Major Charles Sweeney had orders to drop the bomb visually and not by radar, he diverted to the secondary target, Nagasaki. People now use the phrase "Kokura luck" to mean the lucky avoidance of some great misfortune as a result of this event.1
- Matsumoto Seicho - writer
- Miyamoto Musashi - swordsman and rōnin
- Mori Ōgai - physician, translator, novelist and poet
- Tetsuya Theodore Fujita - Meteorologist
- Daley, Ted, "Apocalypse Never: Forging the Path to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World", Rutgers University Press, 2010. p. 240
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