city and ken (prefecture), southernmost Kyushu, Japan, including the island groups of Osumi, Tokara, and Amami. It occupies an area of 3,539 square miles (9,167 square km). Its southern coast is deeply indented by Kagoshima Bay. The active volcano, On-take, was an island in the bay until an eruption in 1914 connected it to the eastern shore. Rough topography, volcanic-ash soil, and relative isolation limit agriculture to grains, tobacco, and sweet potatoes. Forests in the interior are exploited, and coastal fishing is important. Industry is based on processed foodstuffs, woodworking, and traditional handicrafts. The custom of not washing a man's clothes at the same time as a woman's has persisted since feudal times in some of the villages. Kagoshima, the prefectural capital, is the economic, cultural, and transport centre of southern Kyushu. Located on Kagoshima Bay opposite On-take, it is sometimes called the "Naples of the Orient." The Amami-gunto are Japan's only subtropical region, producing tropical fruits, sugarcane, camphor, and betel nuts. Kagoshima city has a university founded in 1949. Pop. (1989 est.) city, 536,360; prefecture, 1,810,000.
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