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Chiba Prefecture > Introduction of Chiba > 40,000 Years of Culture

Update: March 26, 2019

40,000 Years of Culture

People have lived in Chiba Prefecture for about 40,000 years.  Remnants of these prehistoric communities have been discovered at archeological sites throughout the prefecture.  Among these sites are a great number of ancient tombs and haniwa clay figures that are representative of Chiba’s ancient culture.

During the Edo Period, the Hokuso area supported Edo (Tokyo) daily life and economy using transportation on local highways and the Tone River.  This led to the development of towns with distinct characteristics, such as the castle town of Sakura, the temple town of Narita, the merchant town of Sawara, and the port town of Choshi.  These areas still retain the atmosphere and architecture of the Edo Period, and were certified as Japan Heritage sites in 2016.

Under this economic prosperity, some people including Tadataka Inoh, Moronobu Hishikawa and Nami-no-Ihachi began to spread new cultural ideas. Many of the festivals that are representative of Chiba Prefecture today, have been handed down over generations and are still performed just as they were in the Edo Period.

 It has always been the local people who bear our culture. This continues today, as our citizens cooperate and form new NPOs and volunteer groups to preserve and celebrate our cultural assets.

1.Historic Contributions

Hishikawa Moronobu (c.1630-1694)

Hishikawa is said to be the father of Japan’s Ukiyo-e style of art. His masterpiece, "Mikaeri bijin", was famously used on a Japanese postal stamp.

Nami-no-Ihachi (1751-1824)

Nami-no-Ihachi's dramatic wood carvings of the waves of Chiba's Sotobo coast reportedly influenced Katsushika Hokusai, one of Japan's most well-known artists.

Ino Tadataka (1745-1818)

Though he did not learn surveying until age 55, Ino traversed the entire country by foot, making the first map of Japan that was accurate to modern surveying standards.

2.Preserving, Celebrating, and Creating Anew

At Boso-no-Mura, an open-air museum near Narita, visitors explore life-size reconstructions of local homes and buildings from the Edo (1603-1867) and Meiji (1868-1912) Periods, and experience traditional activities like weaving, paper-making, old-style cooking, or even trying on samurai armor.

The Chiba Symphony Orchestra is the only professional orchestra in Chiba.  In addition to classical pieces, it offers a new way to enjoy the orchestra by performing with the traditional Japanese art Noh.

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