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Summary of Aichi Prefecture

Profile of Aichi

Aichi Background


Under and prior to Japan’s historical Ritsuryo political system, Aichi was divided into three regions called Owari (the Kiso River and Shonai River region), Mikawa (the western Mikawa and Yahagi River region), and Ho (the eastern Mikawa and Toyo River region). However, after the Taika Reforms of the 7th century, it was reorganized as two provinces, Owari and Mikawa, and continued this way up to the Edo period.

In 1871, following the abolition of the Han System, Owari (with the exception of the Chita District) became Nagoya Prefecture, and Mikawa merged with the Chita District to form Nukata Prefecture. In April, 1872, Nagoya Prefecture was renamed Aichi Prefecture, and on November 27 of the same year, Nukata Prefecture was abolished, with jurisdiction of the area handed over to Aichi. Thus, the long independent provinces of Owari and Mikawa united as Aichi Prefecture.

At the time of its founding, Aichi consisted of more than 2,900 towns and villages, but by 1970, following many mergers in the Meiji and Showa periods, Aichi was left with only 88 municipalities. For the next 30 or so years, the number of Aichi municipalities did not change, but 16 more mergers took place in 2003 as part of the great Heisei mergers, so that as of October 1, 2009, the municipalities of Aichi number 60 (35 cities, 23 towns, and 2 villages).

The Origin of the Name “Aichi”

The name “Aichi” is said to come from a poem that was composed by the poet Takechi Kurohito and included in the third volume of the Man'yoshu (“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”), a famous Japanese poetic anthology. The poem translated reads:
The  cry of a crane, Calling to Sakurada, It sounds like the tide, Draining from Ayuchi Flats, Hearing the cry of the crane.
“Ayuchi” eventually turned into “Aichi” and was adopted as the name of the local district. After the abolition of the Han System, the prefectural government was established at Nagoya Castle in Aichi District, and the name of the district was adopted as the name of the new prefecture.

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