Districts of Japan

A county or district (Japanese郡gun, historically also Kori, . Engl district or county rare ) was a local administrative unit in Japan. As such, it has been used since ancient times and 1878-1921 as an administrative level between prefectures and district town ( Machi ) and rural communities ( Mura), after they had been displaced in the meantime without formal abolition of feudal hierarchies. In 1942, she was by decree of the then Ministry of Interior in almost all prefectures ( Chiho Jimusho ) reactivated (except Hokkaido ) in the form of so-called regional offices for the last time in 1947 and de facto abolished. It corresponds approximately to the County in the U.S. or the District in Germany.


The counties were originally called Kori and as such had ancient origins in Japan. Although the Nihon Shoki claimed to have been erected during the Taika reforms, Kori was originally written as评. Only with the Taiho Code Kori came in the form郡in use. Under the Taiho Code, the hierarchy of administrative units was: Province (国, kuni ), County Kori and below the village (里or郷, sato ).


During the modernization of administration in the Meiji period based on Western models, the counties in 1878 and 1890 on the model of Prussian counties (English districts, dt " district " or "district" ) oriented reorganized and received by the Interior Ministry ordered county governments and indirectly elected circle days. In order to strengthen local self-government of municipalities with their elected institutions, in 1921 decided to abolish the counties under the Cabinet Hara - the dissolution of the district councils and administrations followed a few years later. The party politicians had urged Hara already in the 1900s to abolish: while the Interior Ministry appointed by the magistrate were close to the supporters of the party opponent Yamagata Aritomo, the municipal institutions were a stronghold of the bourgeois parties.

As a geographical and statistical unit the Gun have survived their formal abolition and are still used today in the Japanese address system to identify the location of towns and villages. The constituency boundaries for prefectural parliaments follows many places today the county boundaries.

Same counties in Hokkaidō

In each of the provinces of Japan each name for a Gun was awarded only once each. Since the prefectures essentially follow the boundaries of the old provinces, there are also today per Prefecture each name for a gun only once.

In contrast, the situation is in the prefecture of Hokkaido, which originated from eleven provinces:

There are three counties named Kamikawa and two named Nakagawa:

  • Kamikawa -gun (formerly Ishikari province, today: Kamikawa Subprefecture ), Kamikawa -gun (formerly Teshio province, today: Kamikawa Subprefecture ), Kamikawa -gun (formerly Tokachi Province, today: sub-prefecture of Tokachi )
  • Nakagawa -gun (formerly Teshio province, today: Kamikawa Subprefecture ), Nakagawa -gun (formerly Tokachi Province, today: sub-prefecture of Tokachi )

There are still four counties that belong to two sub-prefectures:

  • Abuta -gun Sub- prefectures Iburi and Shiribeshi
  • Sorachi -gun to Kamikawa and Sorachi
  • Teshio -gun to Rumoi and Soya
  • Yufutsu -gun to Iburi and Kamikawa