Shi (Japan)

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shi in Japan (except Hokkaidō ; status: 2007)

Shi ( Japanese ) is a communal administrative unit in Japan . It is the official area name for a larger or large urban settlement.

Section 8 of the Japanese law on local self-government stipulates that a Shi generally has more than 50,000 inhabitants, more than 60 percent of households are in the center area and more than 60 percent of households earn their income in trade and industry or in urban commerce . Further conditions can be set by the prefectures by ordinance. A decrease in the number of inhabitants below 50,000 does not necessarily lead to the loss of Shi status. For example, Utashinai now has less than 5,000 inhabitants due to a very strong population decline.

Card with seirei shitei toshi

Shi with more than 200,000 inhabitants can become large cities with special status ( 特例 市 , tokureishi ), from 300,000 to 500,000 inhabitants and an area of ​​at least 100 km² to core cities ( 中 核 市 , chūkakushi ) and from 500,000 inhabitants to cities by government ordinance ( 政令 指定 都市 , seirei shitei toshi ).

On March 8, 2010, the number of Shi in Japan was 784 for the first time higher than the number of Machi (783). At the beginning of the Heisei Territorial Reform ( Heisei Daigappei ) there were 670 Shi in April 1999 and Machi in 1994 . The number of villages / rural communities ( Mura ) fell from 568 to 187 over the same period.

Unlike a Machi or a Mura, a Shi does not belong to a Gun and thus corresponds to a city or urban district. Designated large cities ( seirei shitei toshi ) are divided into city districts ( Ku ). In English is Shi with City translated.


Shi means “market” in its basic meaning. The kun reading of the sign ( ichi ) is also the Japanese word for market. However, the Kun reading has no relevance for this communal unit (unlike a Machi or a Mura).


In contrast to the municipalities belonging to the district ( chō - son , Japanese readings machi and mura ), which had already existed under the same name as a subdivision of city ( ku ) and rural districts ( gun ) , the status of shi became the local when modernizing Administrations newly created in 1888/89/90 (see Church (Japan) #History ). Before that, urban districts had been organized as ku since 1878 . With the introduction of the new municipal regulations of 1888, an extensive, state-wide territorial reform was accompanied ( Meiji no daigappei ; in many places the chō-son from before 1889 correspond to the districts, ōaza , after the territorial reform). In the three largest cities in the city prefectures (-fu) Kyōto, Ōsaka and Tōkyō, the previous ku became subdivisions of the new -shi (with some changes on the borders with surrounding districts). Other ku were converted into shi - partly also with incorporations from surrounding gun -, and some shi were completely reorganized from areas previously belonging to the district. In most of the prefectures there was initially only one urban district, in a few two, in some none (e.g. in Miyazaki until 1924).

List of the first shi from 1890


  • All shi that were designated by the Ministry of the Interior in 1889 are listed - since the time of implementation of the municipal reform varied from prefecture to prefecture, the first 31 shi were founded on April 1, 1889, the last not until 1890.
  • The list is limited to the Japanese mainland without the prefectures (-dō / -ken) Hokkaidō and Okinawa , for which different laws applied until the 20th century.
The first shi
Prefecture (-fu / -ken) -shi 1889/90 precursor
Aomori Hirosaki Parts of the Naka-Tsugaru-gun
Iwate Morioka Parts of the Minami-Iwate-gun
Miyagi Sendai Sendai-ku and surrounding areas
Akita Akita Parts of the Minami-Akita-gun
Yamagata Yamagata Parts of the Minami Murayama gun
Yonezawa Parts of the Minami-Okitama-gun
Ibaraki Mito Parts of the Higashi-Ibaraki-gun
Tokyo Tokyo 15 -ku and surrounding areas
Kanagawa Yokohama Yokohama-ku
Niigata Niigata Niigata-ku and adjacent areas
Toyama Toyama Parts of the Kami-Niikawa-gun
Takaoka Parts of the Imizu-gun
Ishikawa Kanazawa Kanazawa-ku
Fukui Fukui Parts of the Asuwa-gun
Yamanashi Kofu Parts of the Nishi-Yamanashi-gun
Gifu Gifu Parts of the Atsumi-gun
Shizuoka Shizuoka Parts of the Abe and Udo gun
Aichi Nagoya Nagoya-ku
Mie Tsu Parts of the Anō-gun
Kyoto Kyoto 2 -ku
Osaka Osaka 4 -ku
Sakai Sakai-ku
Hyogo Kobe Kobe-ku
Himeji Parts of the Shikitō-gun
Wakayama Wakayama Wakayama-ku and surrounding areas
Tottori Tottori Parts of the Ōmi-gun
Shimane Matsue Parts of the Shimane gun
Okayama Okayama Okayama-ku and surrounding areas
Hiroshima Hiroshima Hiroshima-ku
Yamaguchi Akamagaseki Akamagaseki-ku
Tokushima Tokushima Parts of the Myōdō-gun
Kagawa Takamatsu Parts of the Kagawa-gun
Ehime Matsuyama Parts of the onsen gun
Kochi Kochi Parts of the Tosa-gun
Fukuoka Fukuoka Fukuoka-ku and surrounding areas
Kurume Parts of the Mii-gun
saga saga Parts of the saga-gun
Nagasaki Nagasaki Nagasaki-ku and surrounding areas
Kumamoto Kumamoto Kumamoto-ku
Kagoshima Kagoshima Parts of the Kagoshima-gun


The community ordinance for shi ( 市 制 , shisei ) issued in 1888 was changed several times in the German Empire (1911, 1921, 1926, 1929, 1943, 1946) before the post-war constitution and the chihō-jichi-hō (law on local self-government) became a uniform one in 1947 Created the basis for self-government in prefectures and parishes.

The mayor ( shichō , 市長 ) were first appointed by the Home Office from a candidate circle that was nominated by the elected city council ( shikai , 市会 , Engl. Sometimes ambiguous city council , unique city assembly ; not to be confused with the shi-sanjikai , 市参事会 , English sometimes ambiguous city ​​council , unambiguous [city] advisory council or the like, which was at the head of the city administration under the leadership of the mayor, see Magistrat (Prussia) ). In Kyōto-shi, Ōsaka-shi and Tōkyō-shi city councils were elected, but there was no independent city administration: the (appointed) governors of Kyōto-fu, Ōsaka-fu and Tōkyō-fu acted according to an exception to the city rules ( shisei tokurei) automatically as mayor of these cities. This special regulation was not lifted until 1898. As at the national and prefecture level, the originally very strict census restrictions for the city parliaments were gradually relaxed, and the three-class suffrage in shi was converted into a two-class suffrage in 1921. From 1926 onwards there was general, equal suffrage (for men). From 1926, the mayors of shi were also elected indirectly by the city council. A bill by the Hamaguchi cabinet, which would have introduced, albeit limited, women's suffrage (passive election only with the consent of the husband) at local level, was passed by the House of Representatives in 1931 , but failed in the manor house . Kyōto, Ōsaka and Tōkyō, the original three major cities, later supplemented by Yokohama, Nagoya and Kōbe, fought for some additional rights - in 1922 the ability of the prefectural governors to intervene was reduced and the rights of self-government, e.g. B. in road construction, increased - and they were already divided into city districts ( ku ; 1911 as corporations). Attempts by the six big cities in the 1930s to separate themselves completely from the prefectures as "special cities" (tokubetsu-shi) or to be placed at the prefectural level similar to an already planned Tōkyō-to failed. During the Pacific War in 1943, the original regulations governing the appointment of mayors by the Interior Ministry were restored across the country; In addition, the city of Tokyo was abolished and, unlike in some of the original tosei plans for a larger city Tōkyō at the prefectural level with more self-government, instead integrated into a prefectural administration that was now more directly linked to the central government (see Tōkyō-tosei ). Since 1947 the mayors of shi as well as those of other municipalities and the governors of prefectures have been elected directly by the people. The city councils are now called shigikai ( 市 議会 , "city parliaments"), although the parliaments of some large cities continue to use their original name shikai . For large cities, three special forms of shi have since been added, with some additional administrative powers otherwise due to the prefectures: Instead of the tokubetsu-shi ("special cities") originally provided for in the law in 1947 , the seirei shitei toshi were established in 1956 , followed by chūkaku-shi (" Core cities "), 1999 tokurei-shi (" exceptional cities "). The latter were legally abolished in 2014/15 and are to be completely replaced by the "core cities" system in a few years' time, until then the previous tokurei-shi are formally shikōji tokurei-shi (施行 時 特例 市, ~ "exceptional cities at the time of implementation “) And keep the old rights.

Until the early 20th century, only a few were added to the original 40 shi from 1889/90, and the number rose rapidly, especially from the 1920s. In the 1950s (Shōwa no daigappei) the number of shi almost doubled and then increased steadily until it exceeded the number of cities belonging to the district for the first time in the 21st century. The total number of communities fell from over 15,000 in 1889 to below 1,800 today.

Development of the number of shi
year 1889 1922 1945 1953 1956 1965 1975 1985 1995 1999 2004 2006 2010 2012 2015 2019
Number of shi 39 91 205 286 498 560 643 651 663 671 695 777 786 790 790 792

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. 全国 の 市 数 、 町 を 上 回 る 平 成 の 大 合併 で 再 編 進 む . In: 47NEWS. March 8, 2010, Retrieved March 8, 2010 (Japanese).
  2. 市 一 覧 表
  3. Sōmushō : Timeline for local self-government
  4. Sōmushō: 中 核 市 ・ 施行 時 特例 市
  5. Sōmushō : 市町村 数 の 変 遷 と 明治 ・ 昭和 の 大 合併 の 特 徴
  6. 市区 町 村 数 を 調 べ る . In: e-Stat - Statistics of Japan. Retrieved January 22, 2019 (Japanese).