Kansai region

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Map of Japan with Kansai region highlighted in dark green

The Kansai region (関西地方 Kansai-chihō?) is one of Japan's traditional regions[1] The area is also known as the Kinki region (近畿地方 Kinki-chihō?)[2] or as the Kinai (畿内?).[3] The Japanese conventions of geography and history divide the nation into eight regions, including the Kansai region.[4] These have been used since 1905 as basic units for description and comparison.[5] and as cultural markers.

The regions of Japan are a fusion of historical divisions and modern administrative needs".[6] The significance of the region in Japan is geographical, cultural and administrative.[7]

History[change | change source]

In the late 7th century, the Kinki region were identified as one of the eight largest administrative areas of the Imperial system (ritsuryo seido).

Gokishichidō is an ancient system of names for parts of the country, including Kinki or Kansai.[8] Kansai covers the area around the capital city of Kyoto on the island of Honshū[9] in roughly the same area as the traditional Kinki.

In the Meiji period, the modern regional system was made by Imperial decree. Japan was divided into regions (chihō), including the Kinki region. A regional council (chihō gyōsei kyōgisai) was headed by the governor of the most powerful prefecture in the regional grouping. The council also included regional chiefs of central government ministries.[10]

Table: Kansai region[change | change source]

Province Province capital Gokishichido.svg
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital Regions and Prefectures of Japan 2.png
Regions today
Notes
Izumi[11] Kinai Osaka Osaka Kansai created in 716 from Kawachi, then rejoined back in 740, later re-split in 757
Kawachi[12] Kinai Osaka Osaka Kansai
Settsu[13] Osaka Kinai Hyōgo; Osaka Kobe; Osaka Kansai
Yamashiro[14] Kyoto Kinai Kyoto; Nara Kyoto; Nara Kansai
Yamato[15] Wakigami Kinai Nara Nara Kansai northern Nara without Yoshino

Over time, Kansai has developed its own regional dialects, customs and unique traditional culture.[16]

Related pages[change | change source]

Regions in the context of modern prefectures.
Kinai Tōkaidō Tōsandō Hokurikudō
San'indō San'yōdō Nankaidō Saikaidō

References[change | change source]

  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Geography" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 242; "Kansai", p. 477; "Kansai", p. 522; excerpt, "Region between Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto without well-defined borders (as opposed to the term Kinki").
  2. Nussbaum, "Kinki," p. 522.
  3. Nussbaum, "Kinai," at 521; excerpt, "This region is still called Kinai, though its area now corresponds only vaguely to the provinces it once encompassed."
  4. Library of Congress Country Studies, Japan (LOC), "Geographic Regions"; "The islands of Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu each form a region, and the main island of Honshu is divided into five regions"; retrieved 2012-4-15.
  5. Tames, Richard. (2008). A traveller's history of Japan, p. 264.
  6. Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), "Regions of Japan"; retrieved 2012-4-15.
  7. Brandt, Kim. Kingdom of Beauty: Mingei and the Politics of Folk Art in Imperial Japan, pp. 218-219;Shapira, Philip et al. (1994). Planning For Cities And Regions In Japan, p. 193, citing Research Institute of Construction and Economy. (1991). "Fig. 2-7. "Regional Vitalization and Construction Administration," White Paper on Construction; retrieved 2012-8-28.
  8. Nussbaum, "Goki-shichidō" at p. 255.
  9. LOC, "Kinki"; retrieved 2012-4-15.
  10. Steiner, Kurt. (1965). Local Government in Japan, p. 62.
  11. Nussbaum, "Provinces and Prefectures," p. 780.
  12. Nussbaum, "Kawachi," p. 496.
  13. Nussbaum, "Settsu," p. 846.
  14. Nussbaum, "Yamashiro," p. 1045.
  15. Nussbaum, "Yamato," p. 1046.
  16. Web-Japan.org, "Regions of Japan"; retrieved 2012-4-15.

Other websites[change | change source]

Coordinates: 35°N 135°E / 35°N 135°E / 35; 135