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A multiethnic city-state in the Far East

Entries in this City Journal


Asumi Downtown

And here I am, back again: as you can see i'm veeeeeery slow with this CJ!

Today we'll visit one of the main CBD of the city: Asumi Downtown.



@JGellock, atsummerlin53: yeah, you have a point, since those entries were actually the first i've built month ago the quality isn't the best. i'll

@ee99, Retep Molinari, TowerDude, 10000000000000, Benedict: Thanks!


While following Tomatsu Line from Makino District we arrive at Asumi Downtown Station where Tomatsu Line, Saito Line and the circular Belt Line interchange.


On the left Kazeoka Hill with its temples and shrines, on the upper left corner Makino District and on the upper right corner East Asumi, on the lower right corner Inoue District and Hirohashi Tower.

In the center of the picture the highrises full of offices of the downtown. (click for full resoluton)


Urban canyons and glass skyscrapers: Asumi Downtown it's the typical landscape that tourist magazines use to describe the modern "Hong Kong of the North"


Asumi Downtown station is one of the busiest station in the country, from here you can interchange with Tomatsu Line (color Orange, tracks number 1 and 2), Belt Line (color Green, tracks 3 and 4) and Saito Line (color blue, tracks 5 and 6).

The current design of the station and the plaza were part of a renewal plan in 1999.


Although Hirohashi is a city with few cars roads in the downtown can be very busy: that's why may elevated or undeground crossing points are present.


Among the companies that have their headqarters in Asumi Downtown there are philipino Talavera Insurance and hHirohashite Asian Mobile Voice (AMV). You can see their office in this picture


Towers with many differents shapes mirror themself in the cold waters of the river


Just behind the station starts Kazeoka Hill. since laws forbid to built highrises on elevated terrains the foot of the hill are full of small residential houses.

Built in the very center of the state those house, although small, are very epensive and the residents are mostly CEOs of the nearby companies.


In this pic you can see the western outskirts of the district and parts of our next entry: Horie District.




Here's start the second part of this CJ, we will start deep in the centre of Hirohashi City and we'll follow a railway line toward the industrial suburbs of the International Hirohashi Port


@gogosago: thanks! and about the GDP, as a city state based on finance Hirohashi is abviously a rich country, most of the poor strata are immigrants that aren't residents, that's why the GDP os very high

@TowerDude: glad you like it! it was quite difficult to figure what effect use to give a 50s feeling

@Benedict, spursrule14: thanks!


This second part start in Makino Disctrict in the city of Hirohashi, we will roughly follow the tracks of Tomatsu Line just as we followed Saito Line in the first part.


Makino District lies in the central part of Hirohashi, between Kazeoka Hill and Higashigawa River, it borders on the south with Asumi District.

It's mostly a dense residential district but the central part it's also famous for the numerous music shops and live houses.


In the lower part of this pic you can see the glass roof of Komukudoori Station, along Tomatsu Line.


Makino Sanctuary is a Shinto temple located on the edge of Kazeoka Hill.


The Temple was built in 1918 when the city began expansion on this side of the hill.


Higashigawa Station is on the Obi Line (litteraly Belt Line, the circle line of the city) and in the central part of the District.

Poppo is a popular shopping center chain in the state and due to his vicinity to the station this shop is very busy.

In the lower left corner you can see part of the main commercial and leisure street in the district.


Both Obi Line and Tomatsu Line converge in the modern glass Makino Station.

From the station starts a popular shopping street that ends on the waterfront of the river. The buildings along the street are mostly music shops.

A small creek run in the middle of the street: it was a small creek coming down from the hill that was covered by the street during the 70s, in 2003 with the growing importance of de district as a leisure spot the creek was reopened cleaned and nicknamed Makino Creek.

(You can't see very well Makino Creek in this pic: you can find a better view in the final mosaic)


Many midrise buildings, mostly occupated by recording studios and live houses, are located near the main shopping street.


Obi Line and Tomatsu Line run parallel each other toward Asumi Station.

A lot of residential highrise stand in this part of the district.



Special: History

As promised here's a view of the history of Hirohashi


@Benedict, Skimbo, escilnavia, skyscraper241, SimcityFuturist, Schulmanator: Thanks!

@NMUSpidey, blunder, k50dude: Thank you, I really love SC4 region views, cities looks more "organic" in it.

@TowerDude: you're welcome!


While human presence in the national territory is ascertained since prehistorical times, the archeological finds denote only a nomadical presence and no permanent human settlements are confirmed.

Since the 16th century, during the turbulent Sengoku period, japanese merchants from Niigata, on the north-western coast of Japan, started using Hirohashi Bay as a trading post with Jurchen tribes in Manchuria.

The first official mention regarding the trade settlement was in a document dating October 24 1535, this date is now celebrated in Hirohashi as Foundation Day.

Lot of documents regarding Hirohashi exists after the begin of Sakoku (Japan Self-exclusion Policy) in 1638: the Japanese trading community, counting 2000 people in 1641, was authorized by the Tokugawa Shogunate to trade with the Manchu Heartland of the Qing Empire.

Since early 18th century illegal trade with russians explorers is reported in the so called "Kita wa Chūgoku ichiba kara no hōkoku" (Reports from the Chinese market in the north): an archive of documents about tha trading history of the settlement.


This model, courtesy of the Hirohashi State History Museum, show a reconstruction of the early japanese trade settlement.

Since the Trading Post of Hirohashi was formally part of the Quing Empire in 1860, with the Convention of Peking it was ceded to Tzarist Russia as part of Outer Manchuria.

Due to russian occupation and the contemporary opening of Japan under emperor Meiji the settlement of Hirohashi, now inhabited by more than 8.000 japanese people, lost his trading importance and for more than forty years was only a little japanese speaking borough south of Vladivostok.


On this photo, dating 1889 the russian military barracks in the right dominate the hill while the wooden japanese house in the left are what remains of the trading post.

After the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 Hirohashi was annexed as a metropolitan prefecture, and not simply as colony, to the Japanese Empire, during the Taisho and early Showa eras Hirohashi become an important trade settlement for Russia and Machuria and become known as "Manshū no kita no tobira" (Northern Gateway for Manchuria).

Population grew exponentially after massive immigration: mostly made of young japanese seeking opportunity but also white russian escaping the revolution and cheap manchurian workers.

Although trade between Manchuria and mainland Japan was the main activity in the town many light industries began to spread.


This photo, dating 1927, show the now demolished prefectural government building and his sorrounding.

In August 9, 1945, during the last days of World War Two the city was encircled by soviet forces but, since Stalin urged for rushing into Korea, Hirohashi was ignored and not sieged by the Red Army. In August 21, right after the surrender of the Japanese Empire a small force of US marines landed in Hirohashi: being the city part of japanese homeland territory, occupation was up to american forces. Soviet Army threatened invasion but after a month of tension Stalin ordered to withdraw, under the pressures of US President Truman.

Encircled by the three communist nations of USSR, China and North Korea Hirohashi was rapidly called the "West Berlin of the East." In 1948 US military Administration agreed to hold a referendum, although by a narrow majority the voters asked for Independence from Japan, However, in order to facilitate the formation of the state apparatus, the United States continued the military administration of the city-state for 10 more years.


In this photo, dating 1956, you can see the city during the period of american occupation.

Since some japanese returned on mainland Japan the population become more equally divided between ethnic japanese, manchujin (japanese speeking manchurians) and a growing korean community. The 60s and the 70s were marked by fierce inter-ethnic tensions and clashes, autoritarian governements and the strong presence of american military forces to ease the constant threat of a chinese or north korean invasion.

In the late 70s, under the enlightened presidency of Takemoto Tatsuya, a series of reforms increased the level of democracy of the state and laid the foundations for economic development and the modern manufacturing sector. During those years, moreover, the tensions between the various ethnic communities dropped and a common Hirohashite identity began to develop.

During the 80s Hirohashi began to become the so called "Northern Hong Kong", becoming a door to the Popular Republic of China which had become an attractive market after Deng Xiao Ping reforms.

During those years the booming economy of the city attracted many illegal immigrants from China as well as koreans and japanese. In the 90s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, The Government of Hirohashi promoted the "New Homeland" policy that encouraged the immigration of siberian ethnic minorities by offering them a special status recognition and legal protection after decades of forced russification. Many siberians from the Russian Far East came to the city, as well as ainu from Japan, and during those years Hirohashi strengthened its ties with Siberia, both cultural and economical, investing in oil and gas assets.

And finally a mosaic of the booming Hirohashi of the late 80s, when the "Siberian Tiger" along with the other four asian tigers (S.Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore) became a fast growing exporting economy.


And after this history digest in the next entry we will be back in our times with a new part of this CJ


Recap: Saito Line

Here's the first recap of this CJ: after each part I'll post a region view with some additional info, I really love the region view of SC4 and the way your city looks from a broader perspective.


@Skimbo: thanks! as I said you Dragon Island CJ was one of the main inspiration of the CJ.

@TowerDude: the red tower it's the Kobe Port Tower, you can find it here.

@skyscraper241, keder, NMUSpidey, Benedict: Thank you very much!


As you can see on this map of the country i've posted on the first entry, Saito Peninsula is located in the centre of the tiny nation.

Even after only five entries we've covered different type o Hirohashite landscape: From the high density skyscrapers of Asumi District of Hirohashi, to the once-industrial Inoue District, to suburban Kaneda Town, to the rural fields of Hanazawa and finally to the little city of Saito.


In this first part we followed the southern branch of Saito Line.

The line is operated by Hirohashi Tansport Company (or simply HT), privatized in 1993 and once controlled by Hirohashi Transport Departement. E231 are used on Saito Line from 2002, with blue as theme color.


The next entry, before starting the second part of this CJ, will be a digest of Hirohashi history



So much time passed from the last update: I'm getting my bachelor's degree and I didn't had very much time to play SC4.


@NMUSpidey: thaks! I'm really happy that it look realistic to a person who live in similar place!

@skyscraper241: those buildings are from a lot of japanese BAT sites, wich building you exactly need?

@testuser1234: thanks! That's a much appreciated! I'm quite a city-planning enthusiast and I love to make cities that looks realistic.

@Benedict: the font I used for the banners is called Thundergod

@TowerDude, escilnavia, k50dude, terring: thank you very much!


And Finally Saito Line trains reach their destination in Saito City!


Saito City lies on the tip of the peninsula with the same name, facing the Sea of Japan's water.

It was a little fishing outpost before industrialization, then some small factories opened during the '70s and now it's mainly a suburb of Hirohashi.


After running through the countryside we find again urban sprawl that slowly replaces rice fields.

Nishi Saito Station was builded quite recently to face the growing population of Saito City.


The usual sprawl we find everywhere in Hirohashi.


A small Buddhist Temple located in the forest east of the city.


And here's a closer view on the downtown of Saito City. The Government of Hirhashi encourages the location of offices in the suburbs to avoid the overloading of train lines and an excessive tertiarisation of the capital city.


Here's the terminus of Saito Line, in the very center of the city. The area sorrounding it it's full of shops and you can see a pedmall arch in the upper right corner of the picture.


Also in the downtown there's Saito Tower, the lighthouse, tv tower and main landmark of the city.

Unfortunately it doesn't have an observatory open for tourists, but you can still watch the sea from the waterfront plaza underneath.


Due to the proximity to Hirohashi the small port of Saito it's still used for food cargos.





@TowerDude: thanks, in this update i've used that streetmod you suggested to me, the effect it's way better expecially for neighborhood of small asian houses

@panthersimcity4 & 111222333444: thank you!


Time to go rural!

Hanazawa Rural Community it's a administrative division made by four villages situated between Kaneda and Saito cities.


Rice paddies are everywhere in Hanazawa and rural houses built between them are a very common view.

Agricolture was not widespread in the country till the end of WWII and american occupation. In this period trade, the main economic activity of Hirohashi, almost disappeared and industry was not yet developed like in the following years.

Between years 1946 and 1952 thanks to american economic aid many forests where cut down and irrigation canals were made, those lands were distribuited among the rising jobless population of the city.


Following Saito Line coming from Kaneda we arrive in the village of Ohara, one of the four that compose Hanazawa Rural Community.

Kita Ohara Station, in the right of the picture, it's quite big for a small village like this one. The answer is that Ohara it's a little tourist spot, as we will see in the next picture.


The village is famous for Ohara-ji, a buddhist temple built in a cave. to get in the temple you have to walk the long ramp before arriving in the wooden entrance of the cave.

The temple was initially a russian watchtower built during the nineteen century using the cave as a ammo deposit, during the Russo-Japanese war the watchtower and his cave were briefly used by the japanese as a temporary hospital and a small buddha statue was placed somewhere in the cave. After the war many soldiers who were cured here or those who lost here friends started to come here to pray.

In 1909 the japanese government transformed the pilgrimage spot in a temple, with the passing of the years the temple become popular for those who pray for their health and for tourists that came here to see the majestic panorama from above the ramp and the statues inside the cave.


Saito Line continue along the railroad and stops in Minami Ohara Station, quite distant from Kita Ohara.


Further in the south we find Kawakami station in the village of Kawakami, the second village of the rural community. There's nothing interesting here outside some commuters houses, a convenience store, a small temple near the forest and, of course, rice paddies.


Here's Saito Lines train stopping in Hanazawa Station: Hanazawa it's the main village of the Rural Community giving the name to it. A School, a supermarket, some small factories and shops are located here.


In Hanazawa you can also fin some apartment blocks and not only small houses.

While being still a mainly agricoltural town many inhabitants of the Rural Community are commuters that every morning take Saito Line to work in the skyscrapers of Hirohashi's business districts.


After Hanazawa Station Saito Line heads to its terminal in Saito City, while the landscape slowly become less rural.


The fourth and smaller village of Hanazawa Rural Community it's Minagawa, Saito Line doesn't stop here but a bus connect the village with Hanazawa Station and Saito Station.


Situated near Saito City, and slowly becoming a suburb of it, in Minagawa you can see how sprawl is slowly transforming the rural part of Hirohashi: in this picture near and big and old farmer house are built modern commuters houses.

Agricolture spread in the outskirt of the city in a period of alimentary shortcut and trade crisis. Sorrounded by isolated communist countries Hirohashi encouraged domestic alimentary products for decades, but now with cheaper imports and the opening of China foreign food it's cheaper, at the same time the great wave of immigration over the last twenty years, have made the housing demand grow more and more.


In this mosaic you can see much of the Hanazawa Rural District: from the left to the right you see the villages of Minami Ohara and, separed by rice fields Kawakami; then after a small passage trough the woods Saito Line enter Hanazawa, Saito Line then pass north of a Hill towards Saito City while on the south a road connect Hanazawa with Minagawa village while in the upper right corner of the picture you can see the outskirts of Saito City that we'll visit in the next update.





@TowerDude & 7891122562059523: thank you! the main goal of this CJ is to be as realistic as possible!

@Adrianor: you're right! in the last mosaic I removed it only in one of the two city.


Passed Inoue District we follow Saito Line through the suburbs towards its terminus at Saito City.

Despite the common image of dense skyscrapers suburbs like this one are very common in Hirohashi.


Kaneda was once a village on the eastern shore of the river estuary but with the population grow of the last twenty years it become a suburban town fully merged with Hirohashi.


Saito Line trains stop at Matsu Jinja Station near a golf driving range that now is desert due to the heavy rain.


Kaneda High School is the main school of the town, due to Kaneda Koukou Station just in front of the school many students come here from the neighbor Inoue District of Hirohashi.


And here's the very center of the town: this shopping area just outside Kaneda Station. most of the inabitants moves every day to Hirohashi for work and stop here to shop on their way back home.


But Kaneda Town isn't only a place full of commuters, it also host a fishing harbour: fishing is an important economic activity in Hirohashi. Sea of Japan is very rich of mackerels, sardines, herrings, salmon and squid.


Matsu Jinja is a shinto shrine on the mountain behind Kaneda Town.

Mountains of Saito Peninsula are covered with forests and sometimes you can find temples and shrine. Despite the ancient aspect temples like this one were built mostly in the last century.


Continuing south past the center of the town houses are more scattered, there are rice fields and the landscape begins to be more rural.


Both the road that the railway continues to the south surrounded by forest, sometimes small groups of houses are situated along them.

this type of landscape becomes common in Hanazawa Rural Community that we will see in the next entry.


Finally a picture of the whole Kaneda Town, in the north(left of the picture) there is no a clear border with the Inoue District of Hirohashi City.




After a very long pause I'm back with the second entry of this City Journal!


Inoue District is in front of Asumi District, just across the River.

Has historically been a working class industrial district but in the last ten years the gentrification process has led to the rise of many highrise condos along the waterfront.


Inoue district began to develop during the period of Japanese colonization, when some small food factories settled in the area after the opening of Tennobashi (now Tower Bridge).

With the end of the war and the mass arrival of immigrants from Manchuria and Korea factories increased in number and the residents of the district grew similarly, creating the need for public housing operations.


Starting the late nineties many factories have closed or moved, many public housing were demolished or renovated and privatized, real estate companies have started to build towers and open shopping centers like the one on the right of the image.


There are now only skyscrapers built in part of the district close to the river.


Although if there are some office towers are condos that shape the skyline of Inoue District.


However, some factories still survive alongside the new buildings: the Hirohashi Brewery at the center of this picture was founded in 1923 by a merchant from Osaka on his return from Qingdao.

Today Hirohashi Beer produced here is exported to several Asian countries.


Coming from Asumi District just after crossing the river Saito Line stops at Osakedōri Station.

Osakedōri, literally translated as Alcohol Street takes its name from the many pubs that are located along the street a few steps from Hirohashi Beer's brewery.

Even if the customers of those pubs are no longer only workers from nearby factories you can still feel the working-class atmosphere of this neighborhood.


Kita Inoue Station is the main train station of Inoue District, it has an humble looks but within a few years will be enlarged to accommodate the growing population of the district.


Saito Line continues through the suburbs, the cityscape here is different from the waterfront highrises: old tenements are still mixing with warehouses.


This is Minami Inoue Station on Saito Line, it has been recently renovated to house shops inside.

Stations in the suburbs are the core of neighborhoods and shops concentrate around them.


Despite the high population density of the city the mountains and the hills that surround it are covered with large conifers.

In fact winter snows make it difficult maintenance of roads on slopes, so the buildings suddenly stop once reached the mountains.


Not too far from the waterfront condos many inhabitants of Inoue District live in normal small houses.

It is not rare for them, squeezed between the skyscrapers and the mountains, to have small fields or paddies.


And finally a mosaic of the whole Inoue District. (my first try on a trans city mosaic)

Here you can see all the places shown earlier, furthermore in the lower left corner you can see Downtown Asumi while on the lower right lies Horie District and the newly built Hirohashi Television Tower


East Asumi


@Soer_II, TowerDude: Thank you!

@NMUSpidey, sumwonyuno: Yes, japanese custom content fit very well with SC4, unfortunatly I can't find APTX shibuya station anywhere

@111222333444: there are many sites, i suggest you to look here http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?PHPSESSID=bc9dba2fc1274a42503758598712587d&topic=3976.0

@logintime: wow, I'm sorry I "stole" your Idea, I hope this CJ will make your expectations! This second entry should have been the historical one with all the historical background of the city but since in the end it become a lot of material I will divide it in at least three entries that i will post later.


The first part of this City Journal will start in the Asumi District of Hirohashi and will follow the Saito Line trough the countryside to Saito, a small town on the tip of the peninsula with the same name.

(The awesome Dragon Island CJ by Skimbo was one of the main inspiration for my CJ and I will use often his journal concept of showing the city from the standpoint of transit lines)


Our Journey start at Asumi Downtown Station: the main urban rail station of the city facing Downtown Asumi, one of the three parts of Asumi District, but we'll visit that part another time while today we'll focus on the eastern part of Asumi District

You can see a Saito Line train with his distinguishing blue color coming from the left corner of the picture.


Saito Line bypass other two lines and turns south, on the foreground you can see highrise apartment from Downtown Asumi


On the left of the railroad tracks stands one of the many skyscrapers of the downtown while on the right a bunch of small houses still survive in the middle of the chaotic city centre.

In the middle of this picture stand East Asumi High School, despite it's modest appearence this is one of the most prestigious school of the city.


On the left still East Asumi High School, on the right a modern office building encircled by highrise apartment: the eastern part of Asumi District is mainly residential while the central part (Downtown Asumi) contains the headquarters of many financial companies.


Thats the main shopping district of east Asumi: the plaza near the waterfront and the sorrounding streets are a common meeting place among Hirohashi inhabitants


With the densification of the district in the nineties the project of the Asumi Waterfront Park was approved.

This led to the demolition of many lowrise houses on the waterfront, the houses north of that bridge leading to Inoue District were spared for the opposition of the C.E.O. of a big financial company, heir of an old family descending from the first merchants of Hirohashi, that still live in the big house in the middle of the block.


Back in the heart of east Asumi, in the middle of the picture, wedged between buildings stand East Asumi Station: a train just left from the station heading south.


Here's the same train passing through buildings, over the bridge that will lead over the river to Inoue District


On the left the train is now on the bridge, in the middle of the picture the plaza we met earlier


And here's a picture of the whole eastern part of Asumi District




This will be my first City Journal, it's also my first asian themed city after a bunch of European ones.

As I am not native english speaker please excuse me if I will make some errors.

The city-state of Hirohashi is a small nation, once part of the Japanese Empire, bordering with China, North Korea and the Russian Far East.

Born as a small japanese trading post, evolved into the so called "Manshū no kita no tobira" (Northern Gateway for Manchuria) during the Japanese Empire, reduced to a dangerous and encircled US military base during the cold war and finally emerged as a multiethnic financial centre since the late 80's.


The City was initially populated by japanese traders, then Hirohahsi has been subjected to many immigration waves during its history that shaped the multiethnic appearance of the city.

Population Census(2010)

39% Manchujin*

28% Japanese

12% Koreans

7% Han Chinese

6% Nani (lit. Natives, incl. Udege People, Oroch People and Nivkh People) **

3% Mongolians **

2% Ainu **

1% Yakutians **

1% South and Southeast Asians

1% Westerns and Russians

*With the term Manchu-jin (lit. Manchu People) are intended Japanese-speeking native Manchurians settled in Hirohashi during the japanese period.

Since the term is also frequently used by people of mixed ancestry actual etnic Manchu are only 20% of Hirohashi's population. A parliament proposal in 2003 asked to institute the term Bohai-jin for japanese speaking native people of mixed ancestry.

**In the early 90's The Government of Hirohashi promoted the "new homeland" policy that encouraged the immigration of ethnic minorities from neighboring countries by offering them a special status recognition and legal protection



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