Administrative divisions of Japan

The bureaucratic administration of Japan is divided into three basic levels; national, prefectural, and municipal. Below the national government there are 47 prefectures, six of which are further subdivided into subprefectures to better service large geographical areas or remote islands. The municipalities (cities, towns and villages) are the lowest level of government; the twenty most-populated cities outside Tokyo are known as designated cities and are subdivided into wards.

Prefectural divisions

Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2
47 prefectural entities of Japan

The top tier of administrative divisions are the 47 prefectural entities: 43 prefectures ( ken) proper, two urban prefectures ( fu, Osaka and Kyoto), one "circuit" ( , Hokkaido), and one "metropolis" ( to, Tokyo). Although different in name, they are functionally the same.

Ken

"Prefecture" ( ken) are the most common types of prefectural divisions total of 43 ken. The Classical Chinese character from which this is derived means "county".

To

Tokyo is referred to as a "metropolis" ( to) after the dissolution of Tokyo City in 1943, Tōkyō-fu (Tokyo Prefecture) was upgraded into Tōkyō-to and the former Tokyo City's wards were upgraded into special wards. The Classical Chinese character from which this is derived means "capital".

Fu

Osaka Prefecture and Kyoto Prefecture are referred to as an "urban prefecture" ( fu). The Classical Chinese character from which this is derived implies a core urban zone of national importance in middle period of China, or implies a sub division of a province in late period of China.

Hokkaido is referred to as a "circuit" ( ), this term was originally used to refer to Japanese regions consisting of several provinces. This was also a historical usage of the character in China meaning circuit.

Subprefectural divisions

There are only two types of subprefectural divisions: subprefecture and district.

Subprefecture

Subprefectures (支庁 shichō) are a Japanese form of self-government which focuses on local issues below the prefectural level. It acts as part of the greater administration of the state and as part of a self-government system.[1]

District

Districts ( gun) were administrative units in use between 1878 and 1921 that were roughly equivalent to the counties of China or the United States. In the 1920s, municipal functions were transferred from district offices to the offices of the towns and villages within the district. District names remain in the postal address of towns and villages, and districts are sometimes used as boundaries for electoral districts, but otherwise serve no official function. The Classical Chinese character from which this is derived means commandery.

Municipal divisions

Japan Municipality Map
1,742 municipal and 175 submunicipal entities of Japan

The municipal divisions are divided into three main categories city, town, and village. However the city entities are further categorized. The Special wards of Tokyo are also considered to be municipal divisions.

Cities

Cities in Japan are categorized into four different types, from the highest the designated city, the core city, the special city, and the regular city at the lowest.

Designated city

A city designated by government ordinance (政令指定都市 seirei shitei toshi), also known as a designated city (指定都市 shitei toshi) or government ordinance city (政令市 seirei shi), is a Japanese city that has a population greater than 500,000 and has been designated as such by an order of the cabinet of Japan under Article 252, Section 19 of the Local Autonomy Law. Designated cities are also subdivided into wards.

Core city

A core city (中核市 Chūkakushi) is a Japanese city that has a population greater than 300,000 and an area greater than 100 square kilometers, although special exceptions may be made by order of the cabinet for cities with populations under 300,000 but over 200,000.[2] Core city was created by the first clause of Article 252, Section 22 of the Local Autonomy Law of Japan.

Special city

A special city (特例市 Tokureishi) of Japan is a city with a population of at least 200,000. This category was established by the Local Autonomy Law, article 252 clause 26.

City

A city ( shi) is a local administrative unit in Japan with a population of at least 50,000 of which at least 60% of households must be established in a central urban area, and at least 60% of households must be employed in commerce, industry or other urban occupations. Cities are ranked on the same level as towns ( machi) and villages ( mura); the only difference is that they are not a component of districts ( gun). Like other contemporary administrative units, they are defined by the Local Autonomy Law of 1947.

Town

A town ( chō or machi) is a local administrative unit in Japan. It is a local public body along with prefecture (ken or other equivalents), city (shi), and village (mura). Geographically, a town is contained within a prefecture.

Village

A village ( mura, sometimes son) is a local administrative unit in Japan. It is a local public body along with prefecture ( ken, or other equivalents), city ( shi), and town ( chō, sometimes machi). Geographically, a village's extent is contained within a prefecture. It is larger than an actual settlement, being in actuality a subdivision of a rural district ( gun), which are subdivided into towns and villages with no overlap and no uncovered area.

Special Ward

The special wards (特別区 tokubetsu-ku) are 23 municipalities that together make up the core and the most populous part of Tokyo, Japan. Together, they occupy the land that was originally the City of Tokyo before it was abolished in 1943 to become part of the newly created Tokyo Metropolis. The special wards' structure was established under the Japanese Local Autonomy Law and is unique to Tokyo.

Submunicipal divisions

Ward

A ward ( ku) is a subdivision of the cities of Japan that are large enough to have been designated by government ordinance.[3]

History

Although the details of local administration have changed dramatically over time, the basic outline of the current two-tiered system since the abolition of the han system by the Meiji government in 1871 are similar. Before the abolition of the han system, Japan was divided into province ( kuni) then subdivided into district ( gun) and then village (里/郷 sato) at the bottom.

Structural hierarchy

Prefectural Subprefectural Municipal Submunicipal
Prefectures
(excluding Tokyo)
Subprefecture "designated city" Ward
 
District Town
Village
none
Subprefecture District
  "core city"
"special city"
City
 
Metropolis City
Special wards
District
Subprefecture
Town
Village
Level Type Kanji Romaji No.
Prefectural Tokyo Metropolis to 1
"circuit" 1
"urban prefecture" fu 2
Prefecture ken 43
  Subprefectural Subprefecture 支庁 shichō 158
District gun 374
Municipal "designated city" 政令指定都市 seirei shitei toshi 20
"core city" 中核市 chūkaku-shi 42
"special city" 特例市 tokurei-shi 40
City shi 688
Town chō or machi 746
Village mura or son 183
Special ward 特別区 tokubetsu-ku 23
  Submunicipal Ward ku 175
Prefecture Kanji Region City [all-types]
(Special ward)
Ward District Town Village
 Aichi 愛知県 Chūbu 38 16 7 14 2
 Akita 秋田県 Tōhoku 13 6 9 3
 Aomori 青森県 Tōhoku 10 8 22 8
 Chiba 千葉県 Kantō 37 6 6 16 1
 Ehime 愛媛県 Shikoku 11 7 9
 Fukui 福井県 Chūbu 9 7 17
 Fukuoka 福岡県 Kyushu 28 14 12 30 2
 Fukushima 福島県 Tōhoku 13 13 31 15
 Gifu 岐阜県 Chūbu 21 9 19 2
 Gunma 群馬県 Kantō 12 7 15 8
 Hiroshima 広島県 Chūgoku 14 8 5 9
 Hokkaidō 北海道 Hokkaido 35 10 66 129 15[4]
 Hyōgo 兵庫県 Kansai 29 9 8 12
 Ibaraki 茨城県 Kantō 32 7 10 2
 Ishikawa 石川県 Chūbu 11 5 8
 Iwate 岩手県 Tōhoku 14 10 15 4
 Kagawa 香川県 Shikoku 8 5 9
 Kagoshima 鹿児島県 Kyushu 19 8 20 4
 Kanagawa 神奈川県 Kantō 19 28 6 13 1
 Kōchi 高知県 Shikoku 11 6 17 6
 Kumamoto 熊本県 Kyushu 14 5 9 23 8
 Kyōto 京都府 Kansai 15 11 6 10 1
 Mie 三重県 Kansai 14 7 15
 Miyagi 宮城県 Tōhoku 13 5 10 21 1
 Miyazaki 宮崎県 Kyushu 9 6 14 3
 Nagano 長野県 Chūbu 19 14 23 35
 Nagasaki 長崎県 Kyushu 13 4 8
 Nara 奈良県 Kansai 12 7 15 12
 Niigata 新潟県 Chūbu 20 8 9 6 4
 Ōita 大分県 Kyushu 14 3 3 1
 Okayama 岡山県 Chūgoku 15 4 10 10 2
 Okinawa 沖縄県 Kyushu 11 5 11 19
 Ōsaka 大阪府 Kansai 33 31 5 9 1
 Saga 佐賀県 Kyushu 10 6 10
 Saitama 埼玉県 Kantō 40 10 8 22 1
 Shiga 滋賀県 Kansai 13 3 6
 Shimane 島根県 Chūgoku 8 5 10 1
 Shizuoka 静岡県 Chūbu 23 10 5 12
 Tochigi 栃木県 Kantō 14 5 12
 Tokushima 徳島県 Shikoku 8 8 15 1
 Tōkyō 東京都 Kantō 26 (23) 1 5 8
 Tottori 鳥取県 Chūgoku 4 5 14 1
 Toyama 富山県 Chūbu 10 2 4 1
 Wakayama 和歌山県 Kansai 9 6 20 1
 Yamagata 山形県 Tōhoku 13 8 19 3
 Yamaguchi 山口県 Chūgoku 13 4 6
 Yamanashi 山梨県 Chūbu 13 5 8 6

References

  1. ^ Imperial Japanese Commission to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. (1903). Japan in the beginning of the 20th century, p. 80.
  2. ^ "日本財団図書館(電子図書館) Revised Local Autonomy Law". nippon.zaidan.info.
  3. ^ "Statistical Handbook of Japan 2008" by Statistics Bureau, Japan Archived 7 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine Chapter 17: Government System (Retrieved on 4 July 2009)
  4. ^ Not inducing the six villages in the Kuril Islands dispute area.
Cities designated by government ordinance of Japan

A city designated by government ordinance (政令指定都市, seirei shitei toshi), also known as a designated city (指定都市, shitei toshi) or government ordinance city (政令市, seirei shi), is a Japanese city that has a population greater than 500,000 and has been designated as such by order of the Cabinet of Japan under Article 252, Section 19 of the Local Autonomy Law.

Cities of Japan

A city (市, shi) is a local administrative unit in Japan. Cities are ranked on the same level as towns (町, machi) and villages (村, mura), with the difference that they are not a component of districts (郡, gun). Like other contemporary administrative units, they are defined by the Local Autonomy Law of 1947.

Comparison of past and present administrative divisions of Japan

The geography and administrative subdivisions of Japan have evolved and changed during the course of its history. These were sometimes grouped according to geographic position.

Core cities of Japan

A core city (中核市, Chūkakushi) is a class or category of Japanese cities. It is a local administrative division created by the national government. Core cities are delegated many functions normally carried out by prefectural governments, but not as many as designated cities. To become a candidate for core city status, a city must have a population greater than 300,000 and an area greater than 100 square kilometers, although special exceptions may be made by order of the cabinet for cities with populations under 300,000 but over 200,000. After the abolition of special city status on April 1, 2015, any city with a population above 200,000 may apply for core city status.Application for designation is made by a city with the approval of both the city and prefectural assemblies.

Gokishichidō

Gokishichidō (五畿七道, "five provinces and seven circuits") was the name for ancient administrative units organized in Japan during the Asuka period (AD 538–710), as part of a legal and governmental system borrowed from the Chinese. Though these units did not survive as administrative structures beyond the Muromachi period (1336–1573), they did remain important geographical entities until the 19th century.

The Gokishichidō consisted of five provinces in the Kinai (畿内) or capital region, plus seven dō (道) or circuits, each of which contained provinces of its own.

When Hokkaido was included as a circuit after the defeat of the Republic of Ezo in 1869, the system was briefly called Gokihachidō (五畿八道, "five provinces and eight circuits") until the abolition of the han system in 1871.

Hokurikudō

Hokurikudō (北陸道, literally, "northern land circuit" or "northern land region") is a Japanese geographical term. It means both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through the old Japanese geographical region. Both were situated along the northwestern edge of Honshū. The name literally means 'North Land Way'. It also refers to a series of roads that connected the capitals (国府 kokufu) of each of the provinces that made up the region.

When the Gokishichidō system was initially established after the Taika reforms, it consisted of just two provinces: Wakasa and Koshi. During the reign of Emperor Temmu, Koshi was divided into three regions: Echizen, Etchū and Echigo and Sado Island was added as a fifth province. Later, Noto and Kaga were carved out of Echizen to form seven provinces in total.

Jōshin'etsu region

The Jōshin'etsu region (上信越地方, Jōshin'etsu chihō) is a region on the main Japanese island of Honshu, comprising parts of Gunma, Nagano, and Niigata Prefectures. It is a mountainous area with a large national park and numerous hot springs and ski resorts. It has long been a transportation corridor between the Kantō plain and coastal areas on the Japan Sea side of the island.

Kinai

Kinai (畿内, Capital Region) is a Japanese term denoting an ancient division of the country. Kinai is a name for the ancient provinces around the capital Nara and Heian-kyō. The five provinces were called go-kinai after 1760.The name is still used to describe part of the Kansai region, but the area of the Kinai corresponds only generally to the land of the old provinces.The region was established as one of the Gokishichidō ("Five provinces and seven roads") during the Asuka period (538-710). It consisted of Yamashiro, Yamato, Settsu, Kawachi, and Izumi provinces.

List of regions of Japan

The regions of Japan are not official administrative units, but have been traditionally used as the regional division of Japan in a number of contexts. For instance, maps and geography textbooks divide Japan into the eight regions, weather reports usually give the weather by region, and many businesses and institutions use their home region as part of their name (Kinki Nippon Railway, Chūgoku Bank, Tōhoku University, etc.). While Japan has eight High Courts, their jurisdictions do not correspond to the eight regions below.

Municipalities of Japan

Japan has three levels of government: national, prefectural, and municipal. The nation is divided into 47 prefectures. Each prefecture consists of numerous municipalities, with 1,719 in total (January 2013 figures) [1]. There are four types of municipalities in Japan: cities, towns, villages and special wards (the ku of Tokyo). In Japanese, this system is known as shikuchōson (市区町村), where each kanji in the word represents one of the four types of municipalities. Some designated cities also have further administrative subdivisions, also known as wards. But, unlike the Special wards of Tokyo, these wards are not municipalities.

Nankaidō

Nankaidō (南海道, literally, "southern sea circuit" or "southern sea region") is a Japanese geographical term. It means both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through it. The road connected provincial capitals in this region. It was part of the Gokishichidō system.

The Nankaidō encompassed the pre-Meiji provincial lands of Kii and Awaji, plus the four provinces that made up the island of Shikoku: Awa, Sanuki, Tosa, and Iyo.The road extend from Nara to the seacoast to the south on the Kii Peninsula of the island of Honshū in Japan and crossing the sea, extended to Yura (nowadays Sumoto) and then Shikoku.

Outline of Japan

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Japan:

Japan – an island nation in East Asia, located in the Pacific Ocean. It lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters that make up Japan's name mean "sun-origin" (because it lies to the east of nearby countries), which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which together comprise about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area.

Saikaidō

Saikaidō (西海道, "western sea circuit" or "western sea region") is a Japanese geographical term. It means both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through it. Saikaido was one of the main circuits of the Gokishichidō system, which was originally established during the Asuka period.

This name identified the geographic region of Kyūshū and the islands of Tsushima and Iki. It consisted of nine ancient provinces and two islands. The provinces included Chikuzen, Chikugo, Buzen, Bungo, Hizen, Higo, Hyūga, Satsuma and Ōsumi.

Special cities of Japan

A special city (特例市, Tokureishi) of Japan is a city with a population of at least 200,000, and is delegated functions normally carried out by prefectural governments. Those functions are a subset of the ones delegated to a core city.

This category was established by the Local Autonomy Law, article 252 clause 26. They are designated by the Cabinet after a request by the city council and the prefectural assembly.

Because the level of autonomy delegated to special cities are similar to core cities, after consultation with local governments, the category of special cities was abolished in the revision of the Local Autonomy Act enacted on April 1, 2015, and cities with a population of at least 200,000 may apply to be directly promoted to core city status. Special cities which have not been promoted may still retain its autonomy, and are called special cities at enforcement (施行時特例市, Shikōji Tokurei shi). As a special case, within 5 years of the abolishment of the category of special cities, i.e. before April 1, 2020, special cities with a population under 200,000 may also apply to be promoted to core city status.The special cities are not the same as the special wards of Tokyo. They are also different from special cities (特別市, tokubetsu-shi) that were legally established in the Local Autonomy Law between 1947 and 1956, but never implemented. They would have been prefecture-independent cities (in an analogous way, special wards are city-independent wards). They were the legal successors to the 1922 "six major cities" (roku daitoshi; only five were left in 1947 as Tokyo City had been abolished in the war) and precursors to the 1956 designated major cities which have expanded autonomy, but not full independence from prefectures.

Subprefectures of Japan

Subprefecture of Japan (支庁, shichō) are a Japanese form of self-government which focuses on local issues below the prefectural level. It acts as part of the greater administration of the state and as part of a self-government system.

Taira no Tadamori

Taira no Tadamori (平 忠盛, 1096 – February 10, 1153) was a Taira clan samurai, son of Masamori and father of Taira no Kiyomori, and member of the Kebiishi (Imperial police force). Tadamori was also governor of the provinces of Harima, Ise, Bizen, and Tajima.

He consolidated the influence of the Taira clan at the Imperial Court, and is said to have been the first samurai to serve the Emperor directly, at Court.

As a servant of the Court, Tadamori waged campaigns, beginning in 1129, against pirates on the coasts of San'yōdō and Nankaidō (two of the Gokishichidō, large administrative divisions of Japan). He also served his own clan in battling the warrior monks of Nara and of Mount Hiei.

Tadamori is also credited with the construction of the Rengeō-in, a major and now-famous temple in Kyoto, which includes the longest wooden building in the world, the Sanjūsangen-dō. Tadamori was granted the governorship of Tajima province as a reward for completing this project.

Tōkaidō (region)

The Tōkaidō (東海道, literally, "eastern sea circuit" or "eastern sea region") is a Japanese geographical term. It means both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through it. It is part of the Gokishichidō system.The term also refers to a series of roads that connected the capitals (国府 kokufu) of each of the provinces that made up the region. The fifteen ancient provinces of the region include the following:

Iga Province

Ise Province

Shima Province

Owari Province

Mikawa Province

Tōtōmi Province

Suruga Province

Kai Province

Izu Province

Sagami Province

Musashi Province

Awa Province

Kazusa Province

Shimōsa Province

Hitachi ProvinceIn the Edo period, the Tōkaidō road (東海道, Eastern Ocean Road) was demonstrably the most important in Japan; and this marked prominence continued after the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate. In the early Meiji period, this region's eastern route was the one chosen for stringing the telegraph lines which connected the old capital city of Kyoto with the new "eastern capital" at Tokyo.In the modern, post-Pacific War period, all measures show the Tōkaidō region increasing in its dominance as the primary center of population and employment.

Tōsandō

Tōsandō (東山道, literally, "eastern mountain circuit" or "eastern mountain region") is a Japanese geographical term. It means both an ancient division of the country and the main road running through it. It is part of the Gokishichidō system. It was situated along the central mountains of northern Honshu, Tōhoku region.

This term also refers to a series of roads that connected the capitals (国府, kokufu) of each of the provinces that made up the region.

The Tōsandō region encompasses eight ancient provinces.

Ōmi Province

Mino Province

Hida Province

Shinano Province

Kōzuke Province

Shimotsuke Province

Mutsu Province

Dewa ProvinceAfter 711, Tōsandō was understood to include Musashi province.

Wards of Japan

A ward (区, ku) is a subdivision of the cities of Japan that are large enough to have been designated by government ordinance. Wards are used to subdivide each city designated by government ordinance ("designated city"). The 23 special wards of Tokyo have a municipal status, and are not the same as other entities referred to as ku, although their predecessors were.

Wards are local entities directly controlled by the municipal government. They handle administrative functions such as koseki registration, health insurance, and property taxation. Many wards have affiliated residents' organizations for a number of tasks, although these do not have any legal authority.

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