Prefectures of Japan

Last updated
Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.svg
CategoryFirst level administrative division of a unitary state
Location Japan
Number47 Prefectures
Populations605,000 (Tottori) – 14,135,000 (Tōkyō)
Areas1,861.7 km2 (718.8 sq mi) (Kagawa) – 83,453.6 km2 (32,221.6 sq mi) (Hokkaido)

Japan is divided into 47 prefectures (都道府県, todōfuken, [todoːɸɯ̥ꜜkeɴ] ), which rank immediately below the national government and form the country's first level of jurisdiction and administrative division. They include 43 prefectures proper (, ken ), two urban prefectures (, fu : Osaka and Kyoto), one regional prefecture (, : Hokkaidō) and one metropolis (, to : Tokyo). In 1868, the Meiji Fuhanken sanchisei administration created the first prefectures (urban fu and rural ken) to replace the urban and rural administrators ( bugyō , daikan , etc.) in the parts of the country previously controlled directly by the shogunate and a few territories of rebels/shogunate loyalists who had not submitted to the new government such as Aizu/Wakamatsu. In 1871, all remaining feudal domains (han) were also transformed into prefectures, so that prefectures subdivided the whole country. In several waves of territorial consolidation, today's 47 prefectures were formed by the turn of the century. In many instances, these are contiguous with the ancient ritsuryō provinces of Japan. [1]


Each prefecture's chief executive is a directly elected governor (知事, chiji). Ordinances and budgets are enacted by a unicameral assembly (議会, gikai) whose members are elected for four-year terms.

Under a set of 1888–1890 laws on local government [2] until the 1920s, each prefecture (then only 3 -fu and 42 -ken; Hokkaidō and Okinawa-ken were subject to different laws until the 20th century) was subdivided into cities (, shi) and districts (, gun) and each district into towns (, chō/machi) and villages (, son/mura). Hokkaidō has 14 subprefectures that act as General Subprefectural Bureaus (総合振興局, sōgō-shinkō-kyoku, "Comprehensive Promotion Bureau") and Subprefectural Bureaus (振興局, shinkō-kyoku, "Promotion Bureau") of the prefecture. Some other prefectures also have branch offices that carry out prefectural administrative functions outside the capital. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is a merged city-prefecture; a metropolis, it has features of both cities and prefectures.


The West's use of "prefecture" to label these Japanese regions stems from 16th-century Portuguese explorers and traders use of "prefeitura" to describe the fiefdoms they encountered there.[ citation needed ] Its original sense in Portuguese, however, was closer to "municipality" than "province". Today, in turn, Japan uses its word ken (), meaning "prefecture", to identify Portuguese districts while in Brazil the word "Prefeitura" is used to refer to a city hall.

Those fiefs were headed by a local warlord or family. Though the fiefs have long since been dismantled, merged, and reorganized multiple times, and been granted legislative governance and oversight, the rough translation stuck.

The Meiji government established the current system in July 1871 with the abolition of the han system and establishment of the prefecture system (廃藩置県, haihan-chiken). Although there were initially over 300 prefectures, many of them being former han territories, this number was reduced to 72 in the latter part of 1871, and 47 in 1888. The Local Autonomy Law of 1947 gave more political power to prefectures, and installed prefectural governors and parliaments.

In 2003, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi proposed that the government consolidate the current prefectures into about 10 regional states (so-called dōshūsei ). The plan called for each region to have greater autonomy than existing prefectures. This process would reduce the number of subprefecture administrative regions and cut administrative costs. [3] The Japanese government also considered a plan to merge several groups of prefectures, creating a subnational administrative division system consisting of between nine and 13 states, and giving these states more local autonomy than the prefectures currently enjoy. [4] As of August 2012, this plan was abandoned.


Japan is a unitary state. The central government delegates many functions (such as education and the police force) to the prefectures and municipalities, but retains the overall right to control them. Although local government expenditure accounts for 70 percent of overall government expenditure, the central government controls local budgets, tax rates, and borrowing. [5]

Prefectural government functions include the organization of the prefectural police force, the supervision of schools and the maintenance of prefectural schools (mainly high schools), prefectural hospitals, prefectural roads, the supervision of prefectural waterways and regional urban planning. Their responsibilities include tasks delegated to them by the national government such as maintaining most ordinary national roads (except in designated major cities), and prefectures coordinate and support their municipalities in their functions. De facto, prefectures as well as municipalities have often been less autonomous than the formal extent of the local autonomy law suggests, because of

Types of prefecture

Historically, during the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate established bugyō-ruled zones (奉行支配地) around the nine largest cities in Japan, and 302 township-ruled zones (郡代支配地) elsewhere. When the Meiji government began to create the prefectural system in 1868, the nine bugyō-ruled zones became fu (), while the township-ruled zones and the rest of the bugyo-ruled zones became ken (). Later, in 1871, the government designated Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto as fu, and relegated the other fu to the status of ken. During World War II, in 1943, Tokyo became a to, a new type of pseudo-prefecture.

Despite the differences in terminology, there is little functional difference between the four types of local governments. The subnational governments are sometimes collectively referred to as todōfuken ( 都道府県 , [todoːɸɯ̥ꜜkeɴ] ) in Japanese, which is a combination of the four terms.


Tokyo, capital city of Japan is referred to as to (, [toꜜ] ), which is often translated as "metropolis". The Japanese government translates Tōkyō-to (東京都, [toːkʲoꜜːto] ) as "Tokyo Metropolis" in almost all cases, and the government is officially called the "Tokyo Metropolitan Government".

Following the capitulation of shogunate Edo in 1868, Tōkyō-fu (an urban prefecture like Kyoto and Osaka) was set up and encompassed the former city area of Edo under the Fuhanken sanchisei. After the abolition of the han system in the first wave of prefectural mergers in 1871/72, several surrounding areas (parts of Urawa, Kosuge, Shinagawa and Hikone prefectures) were merged into Tokyo, and under the system of (numbered) "large districts and small districts" (daiku-shōku), it was subdivided into eleven large districts further subdivided into 103 small districts, six of the large districts (97 small districts) covered the former city area of Edo. [6] When the ancient ritsuryō districts were reactivated as administrative units in 1878, Tokyo was subdivided into 15 [urban] districts (-ku) and initially six [rural] districts (-gun ; nine after the Tama transfer from Kanagawa in 1893, eight after the merger of East Tama and South Toshima into Toyotama in 1896). Both urban and rural districts, like everywhere in the country, were further subdivided into urban units/towns/neighbourhoods (-chō/-machi) and rural units/villages (-mura/-son). The yet unincorporated communities on the Izu (previously part of Shizuoka) and Ogasawara (previously directly Home Ministry-administrated) island groups became also part of Tokyo in the 19th century. When the modern municipalities – [district-independent] cities and [rural] districts containing towns and villages – were introduced under the Yamagata-Mosse laws on local government and the simultaneous Great Meiji merger was performed in 1889, the 15 -ku became wards of Tokyo City, initially Tokyo's only independent city (-shi), the six rural districts of Tokyo were consolidated in 85 towns and villages. [7] In 1893, the three Tama districts and their 91 towns and villages became part of Tokyo. As Tokyo city's suburbs grew rapidly in the early 20th century, many towns and villages in Tokyo were merged or promoted over the years. In 1932, five complete districts with their 82 towns and villages were merged into Tokyo City and organised in 20 new wards. Also, by 1940, there were two more cities in Tokyo: Hachiōji City and Tachikawa City.

In 1943, Tokyo City was abolished, Tōkyō-fu became Tōkyō-to, and Tokyo-shi's 35 wards remained Tokyo-to's 35 wards, but submunicipal authorities of Tokyo-shi's wards which previously fell directly under the municipality, with the municipality now abolished, fell directly under prefectural or now "Metropolitan" authority. All other cities, towns and villages in Tokyo-fu stayed cities, towns and villages in Tokyo-to. The reorganisation's aim was to consolidate the administration of the area around the capital by eliminating the extra level of authority in Tokyo. Also, the governor was no longer called chiji, but chōkan (~"head/chief [usually: of a central government agency]") as in Hokkaidō). The central government wanted to have greater control over all local governments due to Japan's deteriorating position in World War II – for example, all mayors in the country became appointive as in the Meiji era – and over Tokyo in particular, due to the possibility of emergency in the metropolis.

After the war, Japan was forced to decentralise Tokyo again, following the general terms of democratisation outlined in the Potsdam Declaration. Many of Tokyo's special governmental characteristics disappeared during this time, and the wards took on an increasingly municipal status in the decades following the surrender. Administratively, today's special wards are almost indistinguishable from other municipalities.

The postwar reforms also changed the map of Tokyo significantly: In 1947, the 35 wards were reorganised into the 23 special wards, because many of its citizens had either died during the war, left the city, or been drafted and did not return.[ citation needed ] In the occupation reforms, special wards, each with their own elected assemblies (kugikai) and mayors (kuchō), were intended to be equal to other municipalities even if some restrictions still applied. (For example, there was during the occupation a dedicated municipal police agency for the 23 special wards/former Tokyo City, yet the special wards public safety commission was not named by the special ward governments, but by the government of the whole "Metropolis". In 1954, independent municipal police forces were abolished generally in the whole country, and the prefectural/"Metropolitan" police of Tokyo is again responsible for the whole prefecture/"Metropolis" and like all prefectural police forces controlled by the prefectural/"Metropolitan" public safety commission whose members are appointed by the prefectural/"Metropolitan" governor and assembly.) But, as part of the "reverse course" of the 1950s some of these new rights were removed, the most obvious measure being the denial of directly elected mayors. Some of these restrictions were removed again over the decades. But it was not until the year 2000 that the special wards were fully recognised as municipal-level entities.

Independently from these steps, as Tokyo's urban growth again took up pace during the postwar economic miracle and most of the main island part of Tokyo "Metropolis" became increasingly core part of the Tokyo metropolitan area, many of the other municipalities in Tokyo have transferred some of their authority to the Metropolitan government. For example, the Tokyo Fire Department which was only responsible for the 23 special wards until 1960 has until today taken over the municipal fire departments in almost all of Tokyo. A joint governmental structure for the whole Tokyo metropolitan area (and not only the western suburbs of the special wards which are part of the Tokyo prefecture/Metropolis") as advocated by some politicians such as former Kanagawa governor Shigefumi Matsuzawa [8] has not been established (see also Dōshūsei). Existing cross-prefectural fora of cooperation between local governments in the Tokyo metropolitan area are the Kantō regional governors' association (Kantō chihō chijikai) [9] [10] and the "Shutoken summit" (formally "conference of chief executives of nine prefectures and cities", 9 to-ken-shi shunō kaigi). [11] But, these are not themselves local public entities under the local autonomy law and national or local government functions cannot be directly transferred to them, unlike the "Union of Kansai governments" (Kansai kōiki-rengō) [12] which has been established by several prefectural governments in the Kansai region.

There are some differences in terminology between Tokyo and other prefectures: police and fire departments are called chō () instead of honbu (本部), for instance. But the only functional difference between Tōkyō-to and other prefectures is that Tokyo administers wards as well as cities. Today, since the special wards have almost the same degree of independence as Japanese cities, the difference in administration between Tokyo and other prefectures is fairly minor.

In Osaka, several prominent politicians led by Tōru Hashimoto, then mayor of Osaka City and former governor of Osaka Prefecture, proposed an Osaka Metropolis plan, under which Osaka City, and possibly other neighboring cities, would be replaced by special wards similar to Tokyo's. The plan was narrowly defeated in a 2015 referendum, and again in 2020. [13]

Hokkaidō is referred to as a (, [doꜜː] ) or circuit. This term was originally used to refer to Japanese regions consisting of several provinces (e.g. the Tōkaidō east-coast region, and Saikaido west-coast region). This was also a historical usage of the character in China. (In Korea, this historical usage is still used today and was kept during the period of Japanese rule.)

Hokkai-dō (北海道, [hokkaꜜidoː] ), the only remaining today, was not one of the original seven (it was known as Ezo in the pre-modern era). Its current name is believed to originate from Matsuura Takeshiro, an early Japanese explorer of the island. Since Hokkaidō did not fit into the existing classifications, a new was created to cover it.

The Meiji government originally classified Hokkaidō as a "Settlement Envoyship" (開拓使, kaitakushi), and later divided the island into three prefectures (Sapporo, Hakodate, and Nemuro). These were consolidated into a single Hokkaido Department (北海道庁, Hokkaido-chō) in 1886, at prefectural level but organized more along the lines of a territory. In 1947, the department was dissolved, and Hokkaidō became a full-fledged prefecture. The -ken suffix was never added to its name, so the -dō suffix came to be understood to mean "prefecture".

When Hokkaidō was incorporated, transportation on the island was still underdeveloped, so the prefecture was split into several "subprefectures" (支庁, shichō) that could fulfill administrative duties of the prefectural government and keep tight control over the developing island. These subprefectures still exist today, although they have much less power than they possessed before and during World War II. They now exist primarily to handle paperwork and other bureaucratic functions.

"Hokkaidō Prefecture" is, technically speaking, a redundant term because itself indicates a prefecture, although it is occasionally used to differentiate the government from the island itself. The prefecture's government calls itself the "Hokkaidō Government" rather than the "Hokkaidō Prefectural Government".


Osaka and Kyoto Prefectures are referred to as fu (, pronounced [ɸɯꜜ] when a separate word but [ꜜɸɯ] when part of the full name of a prefecture, e.g. [kʲoꜜːto] and [ɸɯꜜ] become [kʲoːtoꜜɸɯ] ). The Classical Chinese character from which this is derived implies a core urban zone of national importance. Before World War II, different laws applied to fu and ken, but this distinction was abolished after the war, and the two types of prefecture are now functionally the same.


43 of the 47 prefectures are referred to as ken (, pronounced [keꜜɴ] when a separate word but [ꜜkeɴ] when part of the full name of a prefecture, e.g. [aꜜitɕi] and [keꜜɴ] become [aitɕi̥ꜜkeɴ] ). The Classical Chinese character from which this is derived carries a rural or provincial connotation, and an analogous character is used to refer to the counties of China, counties of Taiwan and districts of Vietnam.

Lists of prefectures

Prefectures of Japan with coloured regions Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.svgHokkaidōAomoriAkitaIwateYamagataMiyagiNiigataFukushimaIbarakiTochigiChibaGunmaSaitamaTōkyōKanagawaTōkyōKanagawaOkinawaYamanashiShizuokaNaganoToyamaGifuAichiIshikawaFukuiShigaMieKyōtoŌsakaNaraŌsakaWakayamaHyōgoTottoriOkayamaShimaneHiroshimaYamaguchiKagawaTokushimaKōchiEhimeFukuokaŌitaMiyazakiSagaNagasakiKumamotoKagoshima
Prefectures of Japan with coloured regions

The different systems of parsing frame the ways in which Japanese prefectures are perceived:

By Japanese ISO

The prefectures are also often grouped into eight regions (Chihō). Those regions are not formally specified, they do not have elected officials, nor are they corporate bodies. But the practice of ordering prefectures based on their geographic region is traditional. [1] This ordering is mirrored in Japan's International Organization for Standardization (ISO) coding. [14] From north to south (numbering in ISO 3166-2:JP order), the prefectures of Japan and their commonly associated regions are:

By English name

The default alphabetic order in this sortable table can be altered to mirror the traditional Japanese regions and ISO parsing.
Prefecture Capital Region Major Island Population
(April 1, 2023)
(per km2)
Distr. ISO Area
Flag of Aichi Prefecture.svg  Aichi 愛知県 Nagoya 名古屋市 Chūbu Honshū 7,475,6305,173.071,458754JP-23052
Flag of Akita Prefecture.svg  Akita 秋田県 Akita 秋田市 Tōhoku Honshū 918,81111,637.5282.4625JP-05018
Flag of Aomori Prefecture.svg  Aomori 青森県 Aomori 青森市 Tōhoku Honshū 1,190,6859,645.64128.3840JP-02017
Flag of Chiba.svg  Chiba 千葉県 Chiba 千葉市 Kantō Honshū 6,269,5725,157.571,218.50654JP-12043
Flag of Ehime Prefecture.svg  Ehime 愛媛県 Matsuyama 松山市 Shikoku Shikoku 1,296,0615,676.19235.2720JP-38089
Flag of Fukui Prefecture.svg  Fukui 福井県 Fukui 福井市 Chūbu Honshū 746,7334,190.52183717JP-18077
Flag of Fukuoka Prefecture.svg  Fukuoka 福岡県 Fukuoka 福岡市 Kyūshū Kyūshū 5,101,3404,986.511,029.801260JP-40092
Flag of Fukushima.svg  Fukushima 福島県 Fukushima 福島市 Tōhoku Honshū 1,773,72313,784.141331359JP-07024
Flag of Gifu Prefecture.svg  Gifu 岐阜県 Gifu 岐阜市 Chūbu Honshū 1,933,01910,621.29186.3942JP-21058
Flag of Gunma Prefecture.svg  Gunma 群馬県 Maebashi 前橋市 Kantō Honshū 1,902,8346,362.28304.8735JP-10027
Flag of Hiroshima Prefecture.svg  Hiroshima 広島県 Hiroshima 広島市 Chūgoku Honshū 2,745,2958,479.65330.2523JP-34082
Flag of Hokkaido Prefecture.svg  Hokkaido 北海道 Sapporo 札幌市 Hokkaidō Hokkaidō 5,114,80983,424.4466.666180JP-01011–016
Flag of Hyogo.svg  Hyōgo 兵庫県 Kōbe 神戸市 Kansai Honshū 5,378,4058,401.02650.5841JP-28073
Flag of Ibaraki.svg  Ibaraki 茨城県 Mito 水戸市 Kantō Honshū 2,828,8486,097.39470.2744JP-08029
Flag of Ishikawa.svg  Ishikawa 石川県 Kanazawa 金沢市 Chūbu Honshū 1,111,4834,186.21270.5519JP-17076
Flag of Iwate.svg  Iwate 岩手県 Morioka 盛岡市 Tōhoku Honshū 1,168,77115,275.0179.21033JP-03019
Flag of Kagawa Prefecture.svg  Kagawa 香川県 Takamatsu 高松市 Shikoku Shikoku 926,8661,876.78506.3517JP-37087
Flag of Kagoshima Prefecture.svg  Kagoshima 鹿児島県 Kagoshima 鹿児島市 Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,553,0609,187.06172.9843JP-46099
Flag of Kanagawa.svg  Kanagawa 神奈川県 Yokohama 横浜市 Kantō Honshū 9,222,1082,416.113,823.20633JP-14045
Flag of Kochi.svg  Kōchi 高知県 高知市 Shikoku Shikoku 669,5167,103.6397.3634JP-39088
Flag of Kumamoto.svg  Kumamoto 熊本県 Kumamoto 熊本市 Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,708,7617,409.46234.6945JP-43096
Flag of Kyoto Prefecture.svg  Kyōto 京都府 Kyōto 京都市 Kansai Honshū 2,537,8604,612.20559626JP-26075
Flag of Mie prefecture.svg  Mie 三重県 Tsu 津市 Kansai Honshū 1,731,8635,774.49306.6729JP-24059
Flag of Miyagi Prefecture.svg  Miyagi 宮城県 Sendai 仙台市 Tōhoku Honshū 2,264,9217,282.29316.11035JP-04022
Flag of Miyazaki Prefecture.svg  Miyazaki 宮崎県 Miyazaki 宮崎市 Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,043,5247,735.22138.3626JP-45098
Flag of Nagano Prefecture.svg  Nagano 長野県 Nagano 長野市 Chūbu Honshū 2,007,64713,561.561511477JP-20026
Flag of Nagasaki Prefecture.svg  Nagasaki 長崎県 Nagasaki 長崎市 Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,270,3584,130.98317.7421JP-42095
Flag of Nara Prefecture.svg  Nara 奈良県 Nara 奈良市 Kansai Honshū 1,298,9463,690.94358.8739JP-29074
Flag of Niigata Prefecture.svg  Niigata 新潟県 Niigata 新潟市 Chūbu Honshū 2,135,03612,583.96174.9930JP-15025
Flag of Oita Prefecture.svg  Ōita 大分県 大分市 Kyūshū Kyūshū 1,098,3836,340.76177.2318JP-44097
Flag of Okayama Prefecture.svg  Okayama 岡山県 Okayama 岡山市 Chūgoku Honshū 1,850,2107,114.33265.41027JP-33086
Flag of Okinawa Prefecture.svg  Okinawa 沖縄県 Naha 那覇市 Kyūshū Ryūkyū Islands 1,462,8712,282.59642.9541JP-47098
Flag of Osaka.svg  Ōsaka 大阪府 Ōsaka 大阪市 Kansai Honshū 8,770,6501,905.324,638.40543JP-2706x
Flag of Saga Prefecture.svg  Saga 佐賀県 Saga 佐賀市 Kyūshū Kyūshū 795,1572,440.69332.5620JP-41095
Flag of Saitama.svg  Saitama 埼玉県 Saitama さいたま市 Kantō Honshū 7,328,0733,797.751,934863JP-11048
Flag of Shiga Prefecture.svg  Shiga 滋賀県 Ōtsu 大津市 Kansai Honshū 1,405,2994,017.38351.9319JP-25077
Flag of Shimane.svg  Shimane 島根県 Matsue 松江市 Chūgoku Honshū 650,9006,707.89100.1519JP-32085
Flag of Shizuoka Prefecture.svg  Shizuoka 静岡県 Shizuoka 静岡市 Chūbu Honshū 3,561,2527,777.35467.2535JP-22054
Flag of Tochigi.svg  Tochigi 栃木県 Utsunomiya 宇都宮市 Kantō Honshū 1,898,5136,408.09301.7526JP-09028
Flag of Tokushima.svg  Tokushima 徳島県 Tokushima 徳島市 Shikoku Shikoku 697,7334,146.75173.5824JP-36088
Flag of Tokyo Metropolis.svg  Tōkyō 東京都 Tōkyō [16] 東京都 Kantō Honshū 14,063,5642,194.036,402.60139JP-1303x/042
Flag of Tottori Prefecture.svg  Tottori 鳥取県 Tottori 鳥取市 Chūgoku Honshū 539,1903,507.14157.8519JP-31085
Flag of Toyama Prefecture.svg  Toyama 富山県 Toyama 富山市 Chūbu Honshū 1,009,0504,247.58243.6215JP-16076
Flag of Wakayama Prefecture.svg  Wakayama 和歌山県 Wakayama 和歌山市 Kansai Honshū 895,9314,724.65195.3630JP-30075
Flag of Yamagata Prefecture.svg  Yamagata 山形県 Yamagata 山形市 Tōhoku Honshū 1,031,6429,323.15114.6835JP-06023
Flag of Yamaguchi Prefecture.svg  Yamaguchi 山口県 Yamaguchi 山口市 Chūgoku Honshū 1,301,4806,112.54219.6419JP-35083
Flag of Yamanashi Prefecture.svg  Yamanashi 山梨県 Kōfu 甲府市 Chūbu Honshū 796,2314,465.27181.4527JP-19055

Former prefectures



PrefectureJapaneseYear of
Kanazawa金沢県1869Renamed as Ishikawa
Sendai仙台県1871Renamed as Miyagi
Morioka盛岡県1872Renamed as Iwate
Nagoya 名古屋県1872Renamed as Aichi
Nukata 額田県1872Merged into Aichi
Nanao七尾県1872Merged into Ishikawa and Shinkawa
Iruma入間県1873Merged into Kumagaya and Kanagawa
Inba印旛県1873Merged into Chiba
Kisarazu木更津県1873Merged into Chiba
Utsunomiya宇都宮県1873Merged into Tochigi
Asuwa足羽県1873Merged into Tsuruga
Kashiwazaki柏崎県1873Merged into Niigata
Ichinoseki→Mizusawa→Iwai一関県→水沢県→磐井県1875Merged into Iwate and Miyagi
Okitama置賜県1875Merged into Yamagata
Niihari新治県1875Merged into Ibaraki and Chiba
Sakata→Tsuruoka酒田県→鶴岡県1876Merged into Yamagata
Taira→Iwasaki平県→磐前県1876Merged into Fukushima and Miyagi
Wakamatsu若松県1876Merged into Fukushima
Chikuma筑摩県1876Merged into Nagano and Gifu
Tsuruga敦賀県1876Merged into Ishikawa and Shiga
Niikawa新川県1876Merged into Ishikawa
Sakai堺県1881Merged into Osaka
Ashigara足柄県1876Merged into Kanagawa and Shizuoka
Kumagaya熊谷県1876Merged into Gunma and Saitama
Aikawa相川県1876Merged into Niigata
Hamamatsu浜松県1876Merged into Shizuoka
Hakodate函館県1886Merged into Hokkaidō
Sapporo札幌県1886Merged into Hokkaidō
Nemuro根室県1886Merged into Hokkaidō
Tokyo 東京府1943Reorganized as Tokyo Metropolis (東京都)

Lost after World War II

Here are some territories that were lost after World War II. This does not include all the territories of the Empire of Japan such as Manchukuo.

TerritoryPrefectureAllied occupationCurrent status [17]
Mainland Okinawa 沖縄県NahaFlag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States [18] Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Flag of Okinawa Prefecture.svg  Okinawa Naha
Karafuto 樺太庁ToyoharaFlag of the USSR (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union Flag of Russia.svg  Russia part of Flag of Sakhalin Oblast.svg  Sakhalin Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Korea Heian-hoku 平安北道ShingishūFlag of North Korea.svg  North Korea North Pyongan Sinuiju
Heian-nan 平安南道Heijō South Pyongan Pyongyang
Kankyō-hoku 咸鏡北道Seishin North Hamgyong Chongjin
Kankyō-nan 咸鏡南道Kankō South Hamgyong Hamhung
Kōkai 黃海道Kaishū Hwanghae Haeju
Kōgen [19] 江原道Shunsen Kangwon Chuncheon [20]
Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea Gangwon
Chūsei-hoku 忠清北道Seishū North Chungcheong Cheongju
Chūsei-nan 忠清南道Taiden South Chungcheong Daejeon
Keiki 京畿道Keijō Gyeonggi Seoul
Keishō-hoku 慶尚北道Taikyū North Gyeongsang Daegu
Keishō-nan 慶尚南道Fuzan South Gyeongsang Busan
Zenra-hoku 全羅北道Zenshū North Jeolla Jeonju
Zenra-nan 全羅南道Kōshū South Jeolla Gwangju
Hōko 澎湖庁MakōFlag of the Republic of China.svg  China Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Republic of China (Taiwan) [21] Penghu Magong
Karenkō 花蓮港庁Karenkō Hualien Hualien
Shinchiku 新竹州Shinchiku Hsinchu Hsinchu
Taichū 台中州Taichū Taichung Taichung
Taihoku 台北州Taihoku Greater Taipei Taipei
Tainan 台南州Tainan Tainan Tainan
Taitō 台東庁Taitō Taitung Taitung
Takao 高雄州Takao Kaohsiung Kaohsiung
Kantō [22] 関東州DairenFlag of the USSR (1936-1955).svg  Soviet Union [23] Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  People's Republic of China part of Dalian, Liaoning
Nan'yō [24] 南洋庁 Korōru Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States [25] Flag of Palau.svg  Palau Ngerulmud
Flag of the Marshall Islands.svg  Marshall Islands Majuro
Flag of the Federated States of Micronesia.svg  Federated States of Micronesia Palikir
Flag of the United States.svg  United States Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg  Northern Mariana Islands Saipan

See also


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  1. 1 2 Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric, 2002: "Provinces and prefectures" in Japan encyclopedia, p. 780.
  2. prefectural code  [ ja ] (府県制, fukensei), district code  [ ja ] (郡制, gunsei), city code  [ ja ] (市制, shisei), town and village code  [ ja ] (町村制, chōsonsei)
  3. Mabuchi, Masaru, "Municipal Amalgamation in Japan", World Bank, 2001.
  4. "Doshusei Regional System" Archived 2006-09-26 at the Wayback Machine National Association for Research Advancement.
  5. Mochida, "Local Government Organization and Finance: Japan", in Shah, Anwar (2006). Local Governance in Industrial Countries. World Bank.
  6. National Archives of Japan: 『明治東京全図』
  7. Tokyo Metropolitan Archives: 大東京35区物語~15区から23区へ~東京23区の歴史
  8. The Japan Times, December 4, 2003: Few warm to greater-Tokyo assembly idea. Kanagawa chief pushes new administrative body to deal with regional issues
  9. Kanagawa prefectural government: 関東地方知事会
  10. Saitama prefectural government: 関東地方知事会
  11. "九都県市首脳会議".
  12. "ホーム-関西広域連合".
  13. "Osaka metropolis plan rejected by slim margin in 2nd referendum". Kyodo News. 2 Nov 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  14. See ISO 3166
  15. "全国都道府県市区町村別面積調 (10月1日時点) [Areas of prefectures, cities, towns and villages (October 1)]" (PDF). Geospatial Information Authority of Japan. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. October 1, 2020. p. 5. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  16. 都庁は新宿区. Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014. Shinjuku is the location of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office. But Tokyo is not a "municipality". Therefore, for the sake of convenience, the notation of prefectural is "Tokyo".
  17. Post-war administrative division changes are not reflected in this table. The capital of the former Japanese administration is not necessarily the capital of the present-day equivalent.
  18. Administered by the United States Military Government of the Ryukyu Islands. Returned to Japan in 1972
  19. Due to the division of Korea, Kōgen (Kangwon/Gangwon), Keiki (Gyeonggi) and Kōkai (Hwanghae) are divided between North Korea and South Korea. While each Korea has its own Kangwon/Gangwon Province, the North Korean portion of Gyeonggi and the South Korean portion of Hwanghae have been absorbed into other provinces.
  20. Shunsen (Chuncheon) is in present-day South Korea.
  21. After World War II, the islands of Taiwan and Penghu were placed under the administration of the Republic of China under General Order No. 1, although they nominally remained part of Japan. Before the post-war treaties were to be signed by the ROC and Japan, the ROC government was defeated in the Chinese Civil War to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and decamped to the island of Taiwan. Japan relinquished the claims to Taiwan and Penghu in the Treaty of San Francisco on 28 April 1952, but the sovereignty of the islands remained undetermined to this day. Excluding Kinmen and Matsu, which form the rump Fujian Province, Taiwan and Penghu are still today governed by the Republic of China in a post-war capacity recognized by a few states as the sole legitimate government of "China". See also Political status of Taiwan and Theory of the Undetermined Status of Taiwan.
  22. Leased from Qing dynasty, subsequently Republic of China and Manchukuo.
  23. After World War II, the Soviet Union occupied the territory. The Soviet Union turned it over to the People's Republic of China in 1955.
  24. League of Nations mandate
  25. Then administered by the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands