TOP > Sightseeing Highlights> A Kiryu Chronology
(before ca 1700 BP)
20,000 BP Paleolithic Sumiyoshi Prehistoric Site
Culture Iwajuku Prehistoric Site
(right photo: Chiami Gaido Prehistoric Ear Decoration, Prefectural Cultural Asset. Displayed at the U.S. Smithsonian Museum of History in 1992)
8000 BP Jomon Culture Oka Shin Koen Prehistoric Site; Tokodai Prehistoric Site; Kinryudai Prehistoric Site; Mishimadai Prehistoric Site; Fumonji (temple) Prehistoric Site; Tanitsu Prehistoric Site; Chiami Gaido Prehistoric Site
300 BCE Yayoi Culture
300 CE Hirai Prehistoric Site; Shinmeiyama Prehistoric Site
(illustration of a Jomon period woman with Chiami Gaido-like ear decoration)
(ca 300 - 710)
(photo of Kiryu City Cultural Asset, Kamo Shrine Kofun Period Sword Hilt)
The Kofun Period was characterized by the construction of large tomb mounds ("Kofun"), indicating the stratification of the agricultural society inherited from the Yayoi Period. Many of these tombs were decorated with the hollow clay sculptures known as "haniwa". The Kofun Period witnessed the introduction of Buddhism and the Chinese writing system from the Asian continent and the rise of the Yamato Court, a powerful dynasty which established Japan's earliest unified state. The last century of the Kofun Period is called the Asuka Period, which is generally considered Japan's first historical age. During this period, a series of institutional innovations, most notable the Taika Reform, created a centralized bureaucratic state based on the Chinese model.
552 Buddhism is introduced to Japan when Buddhist images and sutras are sent from Korea by King Song of Paekche.
600 Mitsuzuku Burial Mound; Inarizuka Burial Mound; Kamo Jinja (Shrine) Burial Mound; Kamihitozuka Burial Mound; Tsukakoshi Burial Mound
(710 - 794)
710 Capital established at Heijokyo (Nara).
(794 - 1185)
794 Capital moved to Heiankyo (Kyoto). It remained the capital until 1868.
796 In August, Kamo Shrine and Miwa Shrine in Yamada-Gun were designated official shrines.
(photograph of Kiryu City Intagible Cultural Asset, Kamo Shrine Daidai Kagura - Shinto Drama)
835 Vacant land including 80 villages in Yamada- Gun was bestowed upon Imperial Prince Michiyasu of the Fujiwara Clan
1058 In March, Minamoto no Yoshi'ie worships at Kamo Shrine
1113 It is said that Princess Shirataki introduced the techniques of weaving in this year.
1117 In February it is said that the Nittayamahata Shrine was established.
1156 The Sonoda Mikuriya was established.
1180 In May, Lord Kiryu Rokuro, allies with Ashikaga Toshitsuna and engages in battle against the forces of Minamoto no Yorimasa at Ujigawa.
1181 Kiryu Rokuro kills Lord Ashikaga Toshitsuna in September. Delivering the head of Toshitsuna to Minamoto no Yoritomo in Kamakura, Rokuro is himself beheaded for his heinous deed.
(1185 - 1333)
1192 Around this time the Sunaga Mikuriya is established.
1200 In October Sonoda Nari'ie visits the Imperial Court. He renounces his worldly life in pursuit of Buddhist ideals and studies under the monk, Honen Shonin, founder of the Jodo Sect of Buddhism. Sonoda was given the religious name, Chimiyo Shonin.
1205 In this year Sonoda Nari'ie establishes a Buddhist monastery in Ogura Village and builds Sozenji Temple. Over 20 men are are ordained as monks at the temple.
(Sozenji statue of Amida Bosatsu)
1227 In this year the Saihoji Temple monastery is established in Hisakata Village.
(1333 - 1568)
1333 Kamakura Shogunate collapses; power is restored to Emperor Go-Daigo.
1338 Ashikaga Takauji becomes Shogun.
(photograph of Hishakuyama, site of Kiryu Castle)
1350 In this year Kiryu Kunitsuna constructs Hishakuyama Castle and takes up residence there.
In this year Kunitsuna digs Shimotoro Hori and conquers Takatsudo Castle (Omama).
1412 In this year Ashikaga Ujimitsu bestows Shimo Hishi Village on Hosokawa Tango.
1512 In April Kiryu Suketsuna has the statue of Buddha at Saihoji repaired and repainted.
1547 Firearms are introduced in Japan.
1554 Around this time Honen constructs Jounji Temple monastery in Hirosawa Village.
1561 In February Hikobe Nobukatsu receives an allotment of land in Hirosawa from Lord Yura Narishige and constructs Hikobe Manor.
(photograph of National Cultural Asset, Hikobe Manor)
1564 Lord Kiryu Suketsuna allies with the forces of Lord Uesugi Kenshin.
1565 In May Hikobe Harunao and Hikobe Terunobu (father and son) commit ritual suicide.
(1568 - 1600)
1570 In May Lord Kiryu Suketsuna dies.
1573 In March the Lord of Kanayama Castle, Yura Narishige conquers Hishakuyama Castle.
1574 In May Yura Narishige takes up residence in Hishakuyama Castle and constructs Hosenji Temple.
1575 In this year Lord Yura Narishige moves Shorenji Temple from Iwamatsu to Kiryu.
1578 In June Lord Yura Narishige falls ill and dies. His burial site is established at Hosenji.
1579 In May Yura Kunishige allies with Lord Hojo Ujimasa.
1586 In this year Lord Yura Kunishige is dispatched to Hishakuyama Castle.
1589 In November, Yura Kunishige, by command of Lord Hojo Ujimasa, dispatches 360 soldiers and fights under the leadership of Lord Maeda Toshi'ie at the battle of Odawara Castle. (Here Hojo is defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who awards the 8 Kanto provinces to Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu as a reward for his support. Kunishige is defeated with Hojo.)
1590 In April, Yura Myoin-ni (Buddhist nun and mother of Kunishige) joins with her two grandsons and 300 soldiers to fight under the control of Lord Maeda Toshi'ie who then conquers Matsuida Castle. In August, Lord Yura Kunishige is sent to Hitachi no Kuni Ushiku and the Kiryu District falls under the control of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
1591 In April Ono Sonkichi transfers the god enshrined at Shimo Hisakata Village to Mihara and establishes Kiryu Shin Machi. In November, a seasonal market is opened on the Tenmangu Shrine compound. (Market town is established.)
(1600 - 1868)
1600 In July, on the order of Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu, 2,410 silk banners are purchased from Kiryu. (These banners were carried into the Battle of Sekigahara by Tokugawa's victorious forces.)
1624 Around this time, cargo was carried to Edo by way of the river bank (Watarase River) at Kitasaruda Village (part of the present day Ashikaga).
1646 In this year sales of silk by bartering was replaced with the use of currency. Around this period, the silk market was flourishing in Kiryu.
1656 In June the Tenno Festival begins.
1658 In this year Omama Village opens its Silk Market.
1661 In August Kiryu Shin Machi becomes part of the Tatebayashi domain in the control of the Shogun, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi.
1672 In this year construction of the Okanobori irrigation canal is completed.
1682 In August Kiryu Shin Machi falls under the control of Kamio Motokiyo, a samurai retainer of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
1684 Around this time silk trade with Edo begins.
(illustration of textile weaving during the late Edo, early Meiji Eras.)
1689 In this year because of the success & growing number of people involved in the silk market trade, a shrine is established at Shincho 3 chome.
1692 Around this time the silk trade with Kyoto begins.
1718 Around this time the "Jushichiya" from Edo establishes a branch office in Kiryu.
1722 In this year Edo's Echigoya Dry Goods Store (present day Mitsukoshi) opens a branch store in Kiryu and begins to market Kiryu silk.
1723 In this year a textile artisan named Kyubei from Kyoto instructed Kiryu weavers in the art of "Harimono" and "Shirohariho" - techniques for weaving silk for aristocrats.
1731 In February the silk market days were changed from the 5th and 9th days of the month to the 3rd and 7th. (market days ran on a 10 day cycle: 3rd, 7th, 13th, 17th, 23rd, 27th, etc.).
1738 In this year a Kyoto artisan introduces the technique of weaving on a "takahata" loom to Kiryu weavers. (The Takahata loom is a Japanese hand loom).
(Edo Era takahata loom)
1742 In August women from Kawamata, Oura-Gun are employed as weavers. In this year, Kiryu comes under the direct administrative control of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
1744 Around this time "sayaori" or patterned silk, grows in popularity.
1751 Around this time the Akaiwa Ferry Boat begins service across the Watarase River.
(painting of the Akaiwa crossing area of the Watarase River by famed Japanese artist, Iwamoto Issen)
1754 In this year Omama Village begins a new silk market on the 2nd and 6th days (10 day rotation). However, strong opposition from
Kiryu forces its closure.
1762 In this year Kiryu Shin Machi is reassigned to the district of the samurai retainer, Kamio Motoju.
1764 Around this time "terakoya" or private elementary schools are instituted.
1778 In July Takayama Hikokuro visits Kiryu.
1779 In December Kiryu is reassigned to the Dewa no Kuni Matsuyama-han
Sakai Tadakyu District.
1783 In July Mt. Asama erupts and ash falls heavily in Kiryu. In this year, Iwase Kichibei begins to employ water wheels for power and invents a thread-plying machine.
1785 In September the Kiryu Barracks is newly constructed.
1786 In this year, the Kyoto Artisan, Kosaka Hanbei, comes to Kiryu to give instruction in the advanced weaving techniques.
1787 Around this time "Kiryu-gami" or Kiryu paper begins being produced in Umeda.
1813 Around this time Sawa Tanzai institutes "Suihei Ginsha" (a poetry group) and this form of poetry grows in popularity.
1817 Around this time Yoshida Genbei goes to the Ou Ezo area (Tohoku) to sell textiles.
1829 Around this time the Tachibana Moribe school of literature gains popularity among the commercial class.
1831 In October Watanabe Kazan of the Southern School of Chinese Art visits Kiryu Shin Machi and stays in the home of Iwamoto Mohei.
("The Death of the Buddha", a city cultural asset at Kannon-In Temple, Kiryu.
Painted by Iwamoto Issen)
1832 In this year the Ashikaga Nittamachi Silk Market is instituted.
1840 In November Kiryu tradesmen are barred from the Ashikaga Market.
1841 In July cotton tradesmen from Kiryu are permitted at the Ashikaga market. In this year, Kiryu silk trade reaches 700,000 ryo (standard gold coin of the Tokugawa Shogunate).
1842 In this year a law is decreed prohibiting peasants and tradesmen from wearing silk; the textile industry is severely hurt by this policy.
1858 In this year a cholera epidemic breaks out.
1859 In November Furuki Shirobei and Tsukui Giuemon are ordered to stop exporting silk thread. In this year, textile production comes to a halt and civil unrest results from the hardships suffered by the citizens.
1861 In March the recurring problem of market participation is resolved and the Ashikaga Silk Market becomes independent.
1864 In this year Onozato Kisaemon begins to export silk handkerchiefs.
1865 In this year western dyes are first employed in textile production.
1868 Meiji Restoration
In April Kiryu comes under the administrative control of Matsuryo-ken.
1869 In February Kiryu Shin Machi is transferred to Iwahana-ken.
1870 In July the Watarase River floods and a river branch is formed from Akaiwa to Kiryu Shin Machi 6 chome.
1871 In November Kiryu falls under the administrative control of Gunma-ken for the first time.
1872 In January Kiryu is administratively transferred to Tochigi-ken. In July, the first post office is opened.
1873 In this year the first public elementary school opens.
1874 In January the silk market days are changed from the 3rd and 7th days to the 3rd and 8th days. In March, the Kiryu Police Bureau is opened.
1876 In August the administration of Kiryu is transferred to Gunma-ken.
1877 In August Moriyama Yoshihei and Associates introduce the first Kyoto-made Jacquard device. In October, Christianity is introduced in Kiryu.
1878 In July the Kiryu Textile Guild is formed.
1879 In December the Daishiju Bank (Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank) branch office is opened in Kiryu.
1882 In July a cholera epidemic occurs. In October, the Cocoon, Yarn & Textile League of Gunma and 6 Prefectures conducts a textile promotion show at Kiryu Shin Machi 1 chome.
1883 In January the uptown market is opened.
1884 In July the town administrative office is established.
1886 In May Seiaisha begins to employ steam power to operate textile machinery.
1888 In November Ryomo Railways begins daily service between Oyama and Kiryu.
1889 In April Kiryu Shin Machi, Arato Village, Shimo Hisakata Village, Shinshuku Village, and Kami Hisakata Village are incorporated to form Kiryu Town. In July, the first electric power plant producing electricity for the Nihon Orimono Corp. (Japan Textile Co., Inc.) is completed along the banks of the Watarase River.
(turbine from the original power plant, now located next to Kiryu Kosei Hospital)
1890 In August the Watarase River floods resulting in copper poisoning from the runoff from the mines in Ashio.
1892 In February the local industries downtown market is instituted. Around this time electric lighting comes into use in town.
1894 In May Kiryu Town erects its first electric light utility poles.
1896 In April the Textile School is opened.
1898 In October the Dai Shiju Bank headquartered in Tatebayashi transfers its main office to Kiryu.
1901 In November the Town Hall is completed.
1902 In this year Akaiwa Bridge is opened. Around this period, moving pictures are replaced by movies and the bicycle becomes a popular means of transportation.
1904 In May the Kiryu Nenshi Limited Partnership (Nippon Silk Throwing Company Limited) begins production.
1907 In this year telephone service is introduced.
1908 In May Kiryu Girls High School opens.
1910 Kiryu ga Oka Park is constructed. Japan annexes Korea.
1911 In April the Ashio Railways begins operation. Noma Seiji, a Kiryu native, forms Kodansha Ltd.,
a major publishing house.
Noma Seiji, founder of Kodansha Publishing House, Inc.
(1912 - 1926)
1913 In March the Kiryu Line of Tobu Railways begins operation. The Textile School is closed.
1914 In this year the town crematorium is opened in Shinshuku. Japan enters World War I.
1916 In April the Kiryu School of Dyeing and Weaving (currently Gunma University, Faculty of Engineering) is opened.
(Main gate and Memorial Hall, Gunma University Faculty of Engineering)
1917 In April Kiryu Middle School (currently Kiryu High School) is opened.
1919 In December the Kiryu Club is established . In this year textile production exceeds 46,850,000 yen.
1920 The first Japanese May Day demonstration is held. In October the periodic market system is discontinued; trading is conducted on a daily basis.
1921 Kiryu City is incorporated in March. In this year synthetic silk thread is used to produce women's kimono sashes (obi). Public bus service begins.
1923 The Great Kanto Earthquake occurs.
1925 In February the Credit Union is established. (Currently the Kiryu Shinyo Ginko). In April the steel truss "Kiombashi" bridge is opened. The first Japanese radio broadcast takes place.
(1926 - 1989)
1927 In September city gas service begins.
1928 In October the city seal is approved. In November the Shinkawa Athletic Field is completed. Jomo Electric Railways begins service.
1929 In August the Oaza Village section designation system for addresses is discontinued. Chome names are adopted.
1932 In April the Waterworks Bureau begins operation.
1933 In April Sakaino Village is incorporated in the city of Kiryu. Around this time textile orders for Kiryu silk exceed those of Nishijin (Kyoto).
1934 In February the medical association begins practice (currently, Kiryu General Hospital). In May the Kiryu Technical School (Presently Kiryu Technical High School) opens. In November the infantry conducts grand maneuvers in Kiryu and the Emperor pays a visit.
1935 The Public Library opens in November.
1936 In March the Nutrition Coop is established. In April the Kiryu High School Baseball Team is runner-up in the national competition.
1937 In April Hirosawa Village is incorporated in the city of Kiryu.
1939 In March the Yamada-Gun Gazette is published.
1940 In March the Kiryu Public Girls Training Institute is opened (presently, Kiryu Commercial High School). In July rice rationing is instituted.
1941 In April the Imperial Rule Assistance Asso., Kiryu Branch is formed. In December Showa Bridge is opened.
1943 In February temple bells, iron lampposts, copper statues are collected to be melted down for armaments. In November many textile companies are taken over for the war effort and looms are confiscated for scrap iron.
1944 A Veterans Memorial is erected on Raiden Mountain. At this time there is a severe shortage of food supplies.
1945 In June the Suehirocho area undergoes forced evacuation. In July American planes shell the Kiryu Station area. In October Allied Occupation Forces take up residence in Inaricho on the premises of the former Nippon Silk Throwing Co., Ltd. Around this time Honcho and Suehiro Streets are lined with stalls. There is a thriving black market.
1946 In January a textile companies' fair to encourage the rebirth of textile manufacturing is held. In August the all-Kiryu baseball team places second in the national city baseball championship. In this year membership in labor unions increases dramatically.
1947 In September Typhoon Catherine strikes causing great flooding and damage. Compulsory education in the form of 6 years elementary school, 3 years junior high school is established.
(destruction in Kiryu after Typhoon Catherine)
1948 In September Typhoon Ian strikes, resulting in considerable flooding.
1949 In September Typhoon Kitty strikes resulting in considerable flooding. Aizawa Tadahiro discovers Jomon period artifacts in Iwajuku.
(destruction in Kiryu after Typhoon Kitty)
1950 In January the city anthem is chosen. (The Korean War begins.)
1951 In May the Orihime War Memorial Statue is dedicated in Kiryu ga Oka Park.
1952 In this year proceeds from the sale of textiles exceeds 72,000,000,000 yen.
1953 In May the Shinkawa Amusement Park is opened constructed over the Shinkawa conduit.
1954 In October Umeda, Aioi and Kawauchi Villages are incorporated in the city.
1955 A portion of Morita Village Yoshisawa is incorporated in the city in June.
1956 In November the Kiryu Boat Racecourse is opened.
(Kiryu Motorboat Racecourse)
1958 In October the National Health Insurance program is instituted. In November the Kiryu Sangyo Bunka Kaikan is opened.
1959 In January Hishi Village is incorporated in the city.
1963 In April Kiryu Minami High School is opened. In October Kiryu forms a sister city relationship with Biella, Italy.
1964 In August various city festivals are combined and celebrated as the "Kiryu Festival."
1965 In May the new Kiryu City Hall is opened. In June, Kiryu forms a friendship city relationship with Hitachi in Ibaraki Prefecture. In November, the city crest is chosen.
1966 In April the use of house numbers for addresses is adopted. The city waste disposal center is completed.
1967 In August the south entrance of Kiryu Station is completed.
1968 A portion of Tanuma Town, Hikoma is incorporated in Kiryu.
1969 In July Kiryu Stadium is completed.
1971 In March the 3 volume "History of Kiryu" is published. In April Kiryu ga Oka Amusement Park is opened.
1972 In July Kiryu Girls High School moves to its new location in Umeda.
1973 In June the Kiryu Public Swimming Pool is opened.
1974 In July the Kiryu City Wholesale Market is opened.
1975 Kiryu Ohashi is opened in January.
1976 Kusaki Dam on the Watarase River is completed.
1977 "Kiryu Ori" is designated a national industrial art in October.
1978 Kiryu forms a sister city relationship with Columbus, Georgia, USA. In July Japan normalizes relations with China.
(Mayor Koyama and Mayor Pro Tem A.J. McClung signing the Sister City Agreement in Kiryu)
1979 In October the Bunka Center is opened.
1980 In April Kiryu Nishi High School is opened. Kiryu and Naruto becomes friendship cities.
1981 In April Miyama-En is opened. In May the Minami Sports Complex is opened.
1982 In March the Sakaino Water Treatment Plant is opened. In August the Kiryu City Hall Annex is completed. In October the new City Crematorium is opened.
1983 In March the Kiryu River Dam is completed. In October the Akagi National Sports Competition opens.
(Kiryu River Dam in Umeda)
1984 In November the first Kiryu Walk Rally is held to rediscover Kiryu's history and culture.
1985 In March the Hirosawa Water Treatment plant is opened. In October the Ryomo Line to Kiryu Station becomes an elevated track.
1987 In March Matsubara Bridge is opened. In April the Kiryu Local Industries Promotion Center is opened.
(1989 - )
1990 In December the 4 lane Kiryu By-pass is opened to traffic.
1991 In May the new Fire Department Building is completed in Motojuku. In October the Public Lifelong Learning Seminar begins.
1993 In May the prefectural Kiryu Youth Outdoor Activities Center opens in Umeda.
1994 In this year the city-designated cultural treasure, Yano Warehouses, are named "Yurinkan" to be used as a cultural events center.
1995 In October the National Government Office Building and the Kiryu City Health and Welfare Center open near Kiryu Station.
1997 In May the Kiryu City Performing Arts Center
(Kiryu City Performing Arts Center)
1999 Kiryu Daiichi High School Baseball Team wins the National High School Baseball Tournament at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya (Kobe), Japan
(Kiryu Daiichi wins national championship)
2000 Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visit Kiryu
(The Emperor and Empress at Okawa Museum of Art)
2001 Kiryu sponsors a National Industries New Year "Ekiden" Relay Race
(The first annual Ekiden Relay Race in Kiryu)
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