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Hiratsuka (平塚市 Hiratsuka-shi ) is a city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. As of June 2012, the city had an estimated population of 259,698 and a population density of 3,830 persons per km². The total area was 67.83 km².
The area around Hiratsuka has been settled since prehistoric times, and mention of the area as part of ancient Ōsumi District, Sagami Province is found in Nara period records. From the Heian period through Kamakura period, the area was divided into shōen controlled by various samurai clans and in the Sengoku period was the site of several battles between the late Hōjō clan of Odawara and the Miura clan. After the defeat of the Hōjō at the Battle of Odawara by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the area came under the control of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who built a summer palace (the Nakahara Goten) in 1596. Hiratsuka was retained as tenryō territory after the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate, and flourished as Hiratsuka-juku, a post town on the Tōkaidō connecting Edo with Kyoto. After the Meiji Restoration, Hiratsuka town was founded on April 1, 1889 as part of the new Naka District within Kanagawa Prefecture. It merged with neighboring Suma town on April 1, 1929 and was proclaimed Hiratsuka city on April 1, 1932.
Prior to World War II, Hiratsuka was the location of the Hiratsuka Navy Ammunitions Arsenal (平塚海軍火薬廠) of the Imperial Japanese Navy and Japan International Aircraft Industries (日本国際航空工業), a Nissan group military aircraft factory. Hiratsuka was largely destroyed on July 16, 1945 during the Bombing of Hiratsuka in World War II. Due to its strategic location and wide beaches, it was also one of the targets for the planned invasion of Japan during the final stages of World War II.
The city quickly rebuilt after the war, annexing several neighboring villages in the mid-1950s to attain its current area. The population exceeded 200,000 by 2001 and Hiratsuka became a special ordinance city with increased autonomy from the central government. The current mayor is Ritsuko Okura the city's first female mayor, who was re-elected in 2007 for a second term with approximately 60% of the votes cast.
Hiratsuka has a mixed economy, with tax revenue coming from wagers made at Shonan Bank Cycling Velodrome, and several industries located in industrial parks in the outskirts of town. Major plants are operated by Nissan Shatai, Yokohama Rubber Company, Canon, Furukawa Electric, Kansai Paint, and Mitsubishi Plastics. Nissan Shatai produced the largest employment on the City, but announced the plan to let a factory move to Kanda. Hiratsuka is also a bedroom community for Yokohama and Tokyo, with residents attracted by the "Shōnan lifestyle".
- Japan National Route 1, to Tokyo or Kyoto
- Japan National Route 129, to Sagamihara
- Japan National Route 134, to Yokosuka via Kamakura
- Japan National Route 271, to Atsugi or Odawara (toll)
- Odawara-Atsugi Road
- Shinshōnan Bypass
- Tanabata festival
- Shonan Bellmare football club, three-time Japanese champions based at Hiratsuka Athletics Stadium
- Takayama city, Japan, since October 22, 1982
- Hanamaki city, Japan, since April 27, 1984
- Lawrence, Kansas, USA, since September 21, 1990
Noted people from Hiratsuka
- Yukari Fukui - voice actress
- Shinya Suzuki - manga artist
- Yamanashi Hanzō - general, politician
- Michael Hora - former child actor
- Official website in English