Isesaki has a population of about 209,000 as compared to Springfield’s 156,000. Isesaki’s population has been increasing each year, and the City is now the fifth largest in the Gunma Prefecture. The City is located in a flat area at the center of the Japanese island, 100 km from Tokyo. There are seven ponds as well as numerous branches of three rivers, the Hirose River, the Kasu River, and the Tone River. In Winter, the seasonal wind called “Karakkaze” blows, but the weather is otherwise comparatively mild throughout the year.
Springfield and Isesaki have much in common, including similar industrial bases, balance of harmony between tradition and modernization, and comparable cultural and parks-oriented environments.
Isesaki has assisted in the development of the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden at Nathanael Greene Park. The Azumaya, located in Friendship Park within City Government Plaza, was given by the City of Isesaki.
The Sister City relationship between Springfield and Isesaki was established on July 18, 1986. Both cities work with Sister Cities International. The following activities have taken place:
- Home-stay programs, which have included more than 100 Springfield families
- Children’s art and photograph exchanges between the Springfield Public Schools and between the two cities’ art museums
- Numerous exchanges, including private citizens as well as city officials from both municipalities.
- Annual exchanges of performance groups for city-wide festivals in both Isesaki and Springfield
- Springfield has sponsored a program that supplies Isesaki with Assistant Lanuage Teachers.
- Other exchanges include softball teams and study tours have been ongoing since 1990!