After a few years of traveling into Japan, I somewhat accepted the terminologies of the territories and never questioned it. Ordinarily my general knowledge of countries’ geography were as simple as:
Country-State-City-County-Village/Town and some may vary with the use of “Region” (in place of State) or “Province” (in place of County). Japan is somewhat different and yet the same.
The country is made up of:
8 regions and 47 prefectures. BUT they (the Japanese) don’t actually use the word “prefecture”, they have a set of 4 words that is used to describe these “states.”
Most of the prefectures use the word: 県 or Ken like:
And so on (with 43 prefectures)…
2 prefectures uses the word 府 – “fu”
1 prefecture uses 道 – do
Finally, 1 prefecture uses 都 – to (metropolis)
When the Portuguese came to Japan in the 1500’s, they used the word “prefeitura”, which translates easily into the language of any country with, a history connected to the Roman Empire. Its original sense in Portuguese, however, was closer to “municipality” than “province”.
So, to recap the way the Japanese geopolitics is arranged is as follows:
The Country – Region – Prefectures – Sub-prefectures
There are 8 regions, which are: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu (incl. Okinawa)
In the following feature, the city we will be discussing is Yokohama which is in the region of Kanto, which loosely translated means “East of the Border”.