Obama, Fukui

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Obama (小浜市, Obama-shi) is a Japanese city in Fukui Prefecture.

The city is on the coast of the Sea of Japan.

History[change | change source]

In the pre-modern period, Obama was the main port and capital of Wakasa Province.[1]

In the Edo period, Obama was the capital of the Obama Domain.[2]

Similar sounding names[change | change source]

The name of the city of Obama sounds like the name of US President Barack Obama. The American President's name comes from his Kenyan heritage, but it is not uncommon for Japanese and East African names to sound alike.[3]

The American leader first learned about the similar sounding names in 2006 when he visited Japan. At Narita International Airport, the custom official who was stamping his visa was from Obama; and the Japanese man told then-Senator Obama about his home town.[4]

In 2009, President Obama acknowledged his connection with the Japanese city. He mentioned it in a speech at Suntory Hall in Tokyo.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. Hall, John Whitney. (1977). Japan in the Muromachi Age, p. 131.
  2. Papinot, Edmund. (2003). "Kyōgoku," Nobiliare du Japon, pp. 27-28 [PDF 31-32 of 80]; retrieved 2012-8-22.
  3. Norimitsu Onishi, "Candidate Wins Support in the East. No, Farther East," New York Times (US). February 19, 2008; "Obama receives backing of Obama," Guardian (UK). 11 February, 2008; retrieved 2012-8-22.
  4. PM - Japanese town capitalises on Obama name
  5. "Remarks by President Barack Obama at Suntory Hall," November 14, 2009; excerpt, "And of course, I could not come here without sending my greetings and gratitude to the citizens of Obama, Japan. (Applause.)"

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Obama, Fukui at Wikimedia Commons