[English] Do you know the meaning of "Fukushima" ?

Do you know the meaning of "Fukushima" ?

Fukushima is written in Japanese as 福島. It means Fuku (福) + Shima (島).

Fuku means fortune. Shima means island. So, Fukushima means "fortune island". Beautiful name, isn't it?

In the world, there is another Fortune Island as a resort island in Nasugub, Batangas province in the Philippines.

What is the source of the name of Fukushima? It is from the name of castle in 16th century.

In 1413, a samurai ruler Mochimune Date built the Suginome castle in this area. This might be the origin of Fukushima city now.

In winter season, strong north-west wind blows from Mt. Azuma to this area. So, this area (or Mt. Shinobu in the center of city now) had been called Fuku-Shima (吹く島) then. In this, Fuku meant blowing and Shima meant island. So, old Fukushima meant "blowing island". Because this was bad image, the name was changed to new Fukushima (福島), with changing Fuku from blowing to fortune.

In 1592 or 1593, ruler Yoshikiyo Kimura changed the name of castle from the Suginome castle to the Fukushima castle. From then, this area has been called Fukushima (福島).

There are many story about the origin of Fukushima, so above story is maybe incorrect.

Until Edo era, Fukushima city had been a small town, smaller than Nihommatsu then. After Meiji era, Fukushima became capital city of Fukushima Prefecture as the center of government administration.

When talking about Fukushima, we had better carefully differentiate between Fukushima city and Fukushima prefecture. The accident-happened nuclear power plants are called Fukushima Daiichi (the 1st) Nuclear Power Plant and Fukushima Daini (the 2nd) Nuclear Power Plant, located not in Fukushima city but in Futaba town, Naraha town, Ohkuma town, in Fukushima prefecture.

Thus, the name of Fukushima has been forced to get bad image. We are still tackling to improve the image of Fukushima. 

Here is a picture of spring flowers in Hanamiyama Park in Fukushima city (Photo in April 2014). You may feel some image of "fortune island" there. Please visit Hanamiyama next April. I will bring you.