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Kitakyushu (kētäˈkyōshō) [key], city (1990 pop. 1,026,455), Fukuoka prefecture, N Kyushu, Japan, on the Shimonoseki Strait between the Inland Sea and the Korea Strait. It was formed in 1963 by the union of the cities of Kokura, Moji, Tobata, Wakamatsu, and Yawata (or Yahata), which are now wards. Kitakyushu is one of Japan's most important manufacturing regions and one of its chief ports and railroad centers. In addition to its traditional industries, which produce iron and steel, textiles, chemicals, machinery, ships, porcelain, and glass, the city has developed industries such as industrial robotics, semiconductors, and environmental technology. Its ports (especially in Moji and Wakamatsu wards) receive raw materials and export manufactured goods. Kokura ward is the city's commercial and financial center. During World War II, Kokura was the site of a large arms factory and was the original target of the atomic bomb that was detonated over Nagasaki. Tobata ward has a major coal-handling facility; a deep-sea fishing fleet is based there. There are several institutions of higher learning in Kitakyushu. The city is connected by tunnel and bridge with Shimonoseki on Honshu.

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

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