Past Hokudai/Cast Entries

Saturday, September 01, 2007


The place name Komatsu appeared in an old book during the Age of Wars. There are several stories about the origin of the name 'Komatsu.' According to tradition, it began in the middle of the Heian period (794 - 1192). The emperor Hanayama planted nine trees when he was doing the rounds of Hokuriku and so it was called "The garden of Komatsubara." On the other hand, some people say the statue of Prince Shigemori Tairana, called Komastsudono, is the origin, and others say that Komatsudera, which had been in existence from the Heian period to the Age of Wars, is the origin of the name Komatsu.

The history of Komatsu started in the Jomon period (10,000 BC - 400 BC) and when people began farming in the middle of the Yayoi period (400 BC - 300 BC). The present city originated from the building of Komatsu castle. The lord of the castle changed again and again because of wars. However, Toshitsune Maeda, the third lord of the Kaga clan, retired and moved to Komatsu catle in 1639. Then he arranged home affairs and turned his efforts to various industries such as silk textiles, Kutani pottery, roof tiles, and tatami mats. As a result, Komatsu developed rapidly as a catle town. After that, Komatsu went on to united with various villages. The present city of Komatsu dates from 1956.

The population of Komatsu is 110,000 which included 1,305 foreign residents. The city is 371 square kilometers in size and has  cold winters and humid summers. The main industries are characterized by the core industries such as textiles, machinery and equipment, and traditional art crafts as well as many small and medium-sized companies. In recent years, the percentage of high-tech industries such as electronic modules has been increasing. The information service industry is one of the key industries in which the city takes an industry. In fact, the numbers of businesses and employees in the information industry per 100,000 people ranks 3rd and 4th in Japan, respectively.

Traditional industries, including Kutani pottery, silk textiles, and tatami mats still constitute an important sector of the city. However, Komatsu Ltd is a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. Komatsu Ltd. was established in 1921 and moved its headquarters to Tokyo in 1951. With its large production base in Japan and 100 affiliates in Komatsu, it has contributed greatly to the concentration of manufacturing companies in the city.

More recently, Hino Auto Body Ltd. established its head office and plant in one of Komatsu's industrial parks. Some companies based in Komatsu dominate certain Japanese or world markets. There are also some companies, although small, that are competitive in the world market with their highly specialized products. Finally, Komatsu airport is the largest airport on the Sea of Japan coast and promotes internationalization.

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Mirai Sozo is the School of Future Learning at Hokuriku University. The primary focus is on language (English and Chinese) and management (hospital administration, sports, and business).
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