I've been studying kanjis for the JLPT and I still can't understand when 区 is used. The textbook only said that that kanji means area but it doesn't have examples. I found one like this on the internet:

  • 東京23区

1 Answer 1


区 is translated as ward. 東京23区 are the core 23 special wards in Tokyo Prefecture, which do not belong to any 市町村 (city, town or village). Some large cities in other prefectures also have 区 as subdivisions of 市.


EDIT: 区 can also refer to a subdivision of a city in many foreign countries. Such subdivisions are called under various names, but 区 is the kanji generally used in Japanese.

  • The 32 London boroughs are called ロンドン自治区.
  • The 5 boroughs of New York Cities are called 区 (e.g., ブルックリン区).
  • The 12 boroughs/districts/Bezirke of Berlin, Germany are 区 or 行政区.
  • The 21 districts/distritos of Madrid, Spain are 区 or 行政区.
  • Some French cities have municipal arrondissements, which are called 区 in Japanese.

When used in a compound, it can have even broader sense (区域 is "district" in general).

  • And what does Ward mean? jajaja I'm not an english native speaker I look for ward on the dictionary and it translate it as "election district" The 23 wards of Tokyo are translated as "the 23 neighborhoods of Tokyo" Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 23:56
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    Judging from your name, I think you speak Spanish. Check this: es.wikipedia.org/wiki/23_Barrios_Especiales_de_Tokio
    – Marco
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 0:01
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    This is not a natural use of the word "ward" in English. Like so many other of the fixed Japanese "English translations", it is probably understood immediately by more Japanese speakers than English speakers. For example, the equivalent in London is not "ward" (which means what your dictionary says), but "borough". Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 5:41

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