Chūgoku region

Coordinates: 35°03′N 134°04′E / 35.050°N 134.067°E / 35.050; 134.067
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Map of Japan with Chūgoku region highlighted in dark green

The Chūgoku region (中国地方, Chūgoku-chihō), also known as the San'in-San'yō region (山陰山陽地方, San'in san'yō-chihō), is one of Japan's traditional regions.[1] The Japanese conventions of geography and history divide the nation into eight regions, including the Chūgoku region.[2] These have been used since 1905 as basic units for description and comparison[3] and as cultural markers.

The regions of Japan are a fusion of historical divisions and modern administrative needs".[4] The significance of the region in Japan is geographical, cultural and administrative.[5]

History[change | change source]

In the late 7th century, the San'indō and San'yōdō were identified as two 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 San'indō and San'yōdō.[6] Chūgoku covers a western part of the island of Honshū[7] in roughly the same area as the traditional San'indō and San'yōdō.

In the Meiji period, the modern regional system was made by Imperial decree. Japan was divided into regions (chihō Archived 2017-03-24 at the Wayback Machine), including the Chūgoku 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.[8]

Table: Chūgoku[change | change source]

Province Province capital
Pre-modern regions
Prefecture Prefecture capital
Regions today
Aki San'yōdō Hiroshima Hiroshima Chūgoku
Bingo[9] Fuchu San'yōdō Hiroshima Hiroshima Chūgoku created from Kibi in late-7th century
Bitchū[9] Soja San'yōdō Okayama Okayama Chūgoku created from Kibi in late-7th century
Bizen[9] near Okayama San'yōdō Okayama Okayama Chūgoku created from Kibi in late-7th century
Harima[9] Himeji San'yōdō Hyōgo Kobe Chūgoku
Hōki[9] near Kurayoshi San'indō Tottori Tottori Chūgoku
Inaba[9] Tottori San'indō Tottori Tottori Chūgoku
Iwami[9] Hamada San'indō Shimane Shimane Chūgoku
Izumo[9] Matsue San'indō Shimane Matsue Chūgoku
Mimasaka,[9] Tsuyama San'yōdō Okayama Okayama Chūgoku created in 713 from Bizen
Nagato[9] Shimonoseki San'yōdō Yamaguchi Yamaguchi Chūgoku
Oki[9] Saigō San'indō Shimane Shimane Chūgoku
Suō Hofu San'yōdō Yamaguchi Yamaguchi Chūgoku
Tajima[9] Hidaka San'indō Hyōgo Kobe Chūgoku
Tamba,[9] Kameoka San'indō Hyōgo; Kyoto Kobe Chūgoku created from Ni in 713
Tango,[9] Maizuru; Miyazu San'indō Kyoto Kyoto Chūgoku created from Ni in 713

Over time, Chūgoku has developed its own regional dialects, customs and unique traditional culture.[10]

Related pages[change | change source]

Traditional 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; "Chūgoku", p. 127.
  2. 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.
  3. Tames, Richard. (2008). A traveller's history of Japan, p. 264.
  4. Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), "Regions of Japan"; retrieved 2012-4-15.
  5. 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.
  6. Nussbaum, "Goki-shichidō" at p. 255.
  7. LOC, "Chugoku"; retrieved 2012-4-15.
  8. Steiner, Kurt. (1965). Local Government in Japan, p. 62.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 65 n3; Nussbaum, "San'in" at p. 817.
  10., "Regions of Japan"; retrieved 2012-4-15.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Chūgoku region at Wikimedia Commons

35°03′N 134°04′E / 35.050°N 134.067°E / 35.050; 134.067