Updated:August 31, 2016

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history 1

Pre-History to the 14th Century 

People have been living in the Yamanashi area for about 30,000 years. Prehistoric society in Yamanashi went from the hunting, fishing and gathering stage to the rice producing stage, then on to village formation and regional classification. The Maruyama and Choshizuka Kofun (earthen burial mounds) were built from the end of the fourth century. From these remains it can be assumed that the people of Sone Hill in Nakamichi-cho, where the elaborate burial mounds are located, had great influence.

In the 8th century Yamanashi was called Kai no Kuni, made up of Yamanashi, Yatsushiro, Koma and Tsuru Counties, with the center around today’s Kasugai, Ichinomiya and Misaka towns. From the 12th century, court nobles started to shake up the system of the ancient regime, and military families started to grow in power. Around 1131, the son of Yoshikiyo Minamoto, Kiyomitsu Minamoto, started the Kaigenji (or Kai Clan).

15th to 19th Centuries 

Among the Kaigenji generations that ensued, those of Takeda, Ogasawara, and Nanbu were particularly prosperous. In the 16th century, Shingen Takeda attained the status of daimyo during the Warring States Period and built Tsuzuji Mansion and the Yogai Castle in Kofu. From this base, he attempted to unify and control Japan.

After Takeda’s death in 1582, Kai-no-Kuni came under the control of the Oda and Toyotomi Clans before being subsumed into the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo Period. Beneath the Edo Shogunate, the Kofu Clan (based in Kuninaka) and the Yamura Clan (based in Gunnai) were formed, but in 1724 the area came under the direct control of the Shogunate. With the development of the Koshu Kaido (highway) and Fuji River transport, goods, materials and culture flowed into the region.

By the mid-19th century, the contradiction of a military government with a clan-based system caused stability to erode and resistance to erupt across the country. At the same time, Japan was forced open by the United States and Europe, beginning the road to modernization.

19th Century to the Present Day 

After the Meiji government entered Kofu Castle in 1868, the domain of the Kaifu government became Kai Prefecture, later renamed Yamanashi Prefecture on November 20, 1872 (November 20 is now celebrated as Prefectural Citizen’s Day in Yamanashi).

In the early part of the Meiji Period (1868-1911), Fujimura’s industrial promotion policies furthered the textile and wine industries. In the late Meiji period, the Chuo Railway Line opened, also helping to develop local industry and culture.

Agricultural production in farm towns was small, and from the 1910’s through the 20’s there was much tenant strife. In 1926, the Minobu Railroad Line opened, putting an end to Fuji River transportation.

In 1945, as part of governmental occupation reforms, agricultural land reforms increased the number of individual farms and introduced fruit farming to the region. Industry and commerce grew at rapid speed during the following periods, and the 1982 opening of the Chuo Highway lead to a growth of third-sector industries that continues to this day.