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Kamakura (kämäˈkōrä) [key], city (1990 pop. 174,307), Kanagawa prefecture, central Honshu, Japan, on Sagami Bay and at the base of the Miura Peninsula. It is a resort and residential area but is chiefly noted as a religious center, the site of more than 80 shrines and temples. Kamakura is especially famous for its daibutsu [Jap., = great Buddha], a 42-ft-high (12.8-m) bronze figure of Buddha, cast in 1252, and for a 30-ft-high (9.1-m) gilt and camphor statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Kamakura was splendid as the seat of Yoritomo and his descendants (1192–1333); under the Ashikaga Shogunate (1333–1573) it was the government headquarters of eastern Japan. An earthquake in 1923 severely damaged the city.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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