Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

ErN 22,  entry Mar 2008        

agoshima, Japan — Brother Volcano, Sister City

          Mt. Sakurajima seen from Kagoshima                

I don’t know when cities started pairing up as "sisters." I do know that in Italy it started in 1960 with the first such declaration of friendly kinship, that between Naples and the Japanese city of Kagoshima. I know that in Naples there is a via Kagoshima, a short steep street meant for mountain goats (with an extra low gear) connecting via Aniello Falcone to the Vomero section of Naples. I also now know that there is, indeed, a Napoli Dori (Naples street) in Kagoshima. My understanding (as yet, I have no photos of the street) is that it is a wide and lovely tree-lined boulevard near the Nishi-Kagoshima train station. I know that Kagoshima takes this “sister city” stuff so seriously that each year the city sends 10 of its citizens to Naples; to my knowledge, Naples does not reciprocate, or at least the mayor has not offered me any free trips. I know all this because I bothered to find out after a kind letter from Hide Okabe pointed out that I had consistently misspelled Kagoshima as "Kagushima" in other entries in this encyclopedia  (here and here.)

                      Napoli-dori Avenue in Kagoshima

Kagoshima ,is a city of some 600,000 at the southwestern tip of the Kyūshū island of Japan.  Even before the age of Sister Cities, Kagoshima had been known as the “Naples of the Orient,” due to climate (warm), location (a port city), temperament of the inhabitants (friendly but I don’t know if they park on the sidewalks; I suspect they do not) and the nearby presence of one of the world's most famous active volcanoes, Mt. Sakurajima, towering majestically over the city across Kagoshima Bay. The volcano is 1,117 meters (3,665 ft), approximately like Vesuvius. Sakurajima erupts —or at least sputters— constantly and last erupted massively in 1914, an explosion so powerful that the lava flow filled in the 500-meter stretch of water (at an average depth of about 60 meters) to the south-east of the then island (!)-volcano and joined Sakurajima to the mainland.

So, if you go, say hello to our brother volcano, and discourage childish little outbursts of sibling rivalry. Even better, take me with you, or at least send me a photo of “Napoli Street.”

(Update! March 2012.  I have a photo now [above] thanks to kind Chris in Kagoshima. Thank you!)

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