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We have fabricated an InGaAs-GaAs vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) grown on a GaAs(311)A substrate by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and demonstrated continuous wave operation at room temperature. A threshold current density of 80 A/cm/sup 2//well and very stable polarization characteristics up to 2.7 times the threshold were achieved. The polarization state with the highest optical intensity was oriented along the [2~33] direction, which is the crystallographic axis exhibiting the maximum gain. An extinction ratio of more than 12.7 dB was obtained between two orthogonal polarization states. The high and anisotropic gain of a (311)A-oriented VCSEL will drastically improve the device performance by optimization and process engineering.