Global Sourcebook for International Data Management

                                         by Graham Rhind

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Global Sourcebook | Index | Properties


For supplementary information, see links to post office home pages here External, to postal code pages here External and to other personal name and addressing issues pages here External.

Table of Contents

Japan - Country information


Local short name form

Official name





International telephone access code


ISO 3166 country codes

Car nationality plate code


Internet country code


GRC Country Code


Japan - Number format


(where . indicates the decimal separator and , the thousands separator)

Japan - Date and time formats


Japanese separators are also used (yyyy年mm月dd).

Japan - Languages


Japan counts 15 languages. Apart from Japanese External, most are spoken by only a very small number of people, mainly on the Ryukyu Islands External. Japanese is the mother language of 96% of the population. Korean External is spoken by 0.5%. Okinawan External is spoken by some on Okinawa External.

Japan - Personal names


Japanese names are written in the order family name+given name. Increasingly, Japanese people write their name in the “Western” style, that is given name+family name. If writing in English, the name is likely to be written in the “Western” manner. Some people capitalise the family name to indicate which it is when confusion can occur.

Modern Japanese do not use middle names.

Given names ending in -ichi or -kazu are male names, the suffix indicating that this is the first-born son -ji indicates the second son and -zo the third son.

Many female given names end in -ko, meaning “child”. Those ending in -mi (meaning “Beauty”) are also female.

Current law states that married couples must share a surname, and this is usually that of the husband.

Tables of names can be acquired: given names External, surnames/family names External, family name prefixes External, forms of address External, job titles External

Japan - For the attention of


This may be transliterated as Atesaki.

Japan - Company legal forms


   株式会社(K.K. - Kabushiki Kaisha or Kabushiki Gaisha) is the legal entity indicator for a corporation in Japan, often translated along with the company name when it is written in Latin script.
   有限会社(Y.K.,Yūgen-Kaisha or Yūgen-Gaisha) 
   合同会社 (G.K., gōdō-kaisha or gōdō-gaisha) - amalgamated company, limited liability company
   合資会社 (G.S.K., gōshi-kaisha or gōshi-gaisha) - limited partnership
   合名会社 (G.M.K., gōmei-kaisha or gōmei-gaisha) - general partnership
   組合 (Kumiai) - partnership
   匿名組合 (T.K., Tokumei kumiai) - anonymous partnership
   投資事業有限責任組合 (toushi jigyou yūgensekin kumiai) - limited partnership
   有限責任事業組合 (yūgen-sekinin-jigyō-kumiai) - limited liability partnership
   監査法人 (kansa-hōjin) - audit corporation
   税理士法人 (zeirishi-hōjin) - tax accounting corporation
   弁護士法人 (bengoshi-hōjin) - legal services corporation
   一般社団法人 (ippan-shadan-hōjin) - incorporated association
   一般財団法人(ippan-zaidan-hōjin) - incorporated foundation
   公益社団法人 (koueki-shadan-hōjin) - incorporated public association
   公益財団法人 (koueki-zaidan-hōjin) -  incorporated public foundation
   特定非営利活動法人 (tokutei-hieiri-katsudou-houjin) - non-profit organisation
   学校法人(gakkō-hōjin) - school corporation
   宗教法人(shūkyō-hōjin) - religious corporation
   社会福祉法人(shakai-fukushi-hōjin) - social welfare corporation
   相互会社 (sōgo-kaisha or sōgo-gaisha) - mutual insurer
   医療法人(iryō-hōjin) - medical corporation
   共同組合 (kyōdō-kumiai) - co-operative
   信用組合(shin'yō-kumiai) - credit union
   信用金庫 (shin'yō-kinko) - co-operative bank
   地方公共団体 (chihō-kōkyō-dantai) - local authority
   一部事務組合 (ichibu-jimu-kumiai) - part public service joint venture of local authorities
   全部事務組合 (zenbu-jimu-kumiai) - entire public service joint venture of local authorities
   特殊法人 (tokusyu-hōjin) - public service corporation
   公団 (kōdan) - public investment corporation
   公庫 (kōko) - public finance corporation
   公社 (kōsha) - public service corporation
   独立行政法人 (dokuritu-Gyōsei-hōjin) - public service corporation
   国立大学法人 (kokuritsu-daigaku-hōjin) - national university corporation
   公立大学法人 (kōritsu-daigaku-hōjin) - public university corporation

Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see External

Japan - Address formats



Increasingly, the address is being written in a reverse format to the one above, with the postal code at the top and the personal name at the bottom, in this way:


The suffixes -ken, -fu (for Kyoto & Osaka), -do (for Hokkaido) or –to (for Tokyo) indicate a province/prefecture. -Ku indicates a ward within a city. -Shi indicates a city and -gun a rural district. The word chome indicates a division within this ward which is numbered. A gaiku is a block divided into ban and jukyo bango. Other area divisions are mura, machi, son, cho, oaza, aza & koaza. (Note: machi and cho may also indicate a town. Cho may be found as jo in Hokkaido.)

Chome and ban numbers are usually assigned by order of proximity to the centre of the municipality.

The house number before the thoroughfare indicates the block number followed by the house number within that block (and not according to their position on the street). Houses are numbered according to their construction date, so that two houses located next to each other may be numbered out of sequence. If the block is built all at once go (house) numbers are usually assigned by clockwise order around the ban.

Street names rarely exist in Japanese addresses. Where there are three numbers separated by hyphens, the first indicates the chome (group of blocks). Otherwise the chome number may be added at the end of the line, as in the example above. A ban is a block, go is a house and biru is a building. -kai means "floor". A final number may indicate an appartment. The number order is therefore essential, even if it appears illogical.

The word prefixes kita, higashi, minami and nishi mean respectively north, east, south and west, and chuo means centre.

Jima and shima mean "island" and shoto a group of islands.

Below is a simplified overview of the hierarchy within Japanese addresses:


image A town block indicator plate displaying the address Nakamura-ku, Meieki 4-chōme, 5-banchi (in Nagoya). Source: Wikipedia

image A sign displaying the town address Kamimeguro 2 chome; block (banchi) 21, building (go) 9 identifies the residential address. The upper plaque is the chome-name plate and the lower, the residential number plate. Source: Wikipedia

Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see External

A table containing information about the relevant position of elements within address blocks can be acquired External

Japan - Postal codes


Postal codes (郵便番号) consist of seven digits in the following format:


This code was introduced on February 2nd 1998. Before that postal codes had three or five digits. These old postal codes may still be found in address databases. The new seven-digit codes have been created in about 98% of cases by adding two or four digits to the end of the existing three- or five-digit code.

Where the code is in an address block written in a Japanese script it is usually preceded by this symbol: image

Metadata containing postal code formatting rules, exceptions and regular expressions can be acquired External

Japan - Postal code format graphic


Japan - Postal code format

Japan - Postal code specifics


Japan - Postal code regular expression


Japan - Postal code level of coverage


Japan - Postal code map


Place names in Japan


The small number if Ainu speakers of Hokkaido (Northern Japan) have their own names for some settlements.

Refer to Exonyms in Japan for full lists of place names in Japan in other languages.

Alternate place name forms/postal code tables can be acquired at External

Other language place name data can be acquired at External

Japan - Administrative districts


Administrative districts graphic

Telephone numbers in Japan


Japanese geographic numbers, when called from abroad, have a length of 9 digits. Mobile numbers have 10 digits and the area codes 70, 80 or 90.

Tables of telephone number information/formats can be acquired – see External

Every effort is made to keep this resource updated. If you find any errors, or have any questions or requests, please don't hesitate to contact the author.

All information copyright Graham Rhind 2019. Any information used should be acknowledged and referenced.