Difference between district and ward

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isabel...

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi, I'm quite confused between the difference in meaning of both words. Even more, because in many web pages, I find Shinjuku described as a district but for me it does'nt make sense cause Kabukicho is part of Shinjuku. So both shouldn't be called district. Since I found this extract that seems clearer, I need some help to understand better that difference.

The campaign involved large-scale arrests without warrants and interrogations of foreigners, and included a well-publicized initiative in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku Ward in Tokyo, an entertainment district in which….
Thanks
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    These are both terms for part of a city or town. A ward is always a legally defined political subdivision. A district may be legally defined, but this word can also be used in an informal sense to describe any area. For example, someone could refer to the area in which most of a city's art galleries are located as its "art district," but that district would not be precisely defined and would have no legal status.

    In this case, it's not clear whether the "Kabukicho district" is a well-defined legal subdivision of Tokyo or just the name of an entertainment area in Shinjuku Ward. However, these definitions vary from place to place. You have to find out exactly what "ward" means in each place you're interested in and whether "district" has a legal meaning there. What they mean in Tokyo may not be what they mean in London or New York. In this case, translation from Japanese may have added another layer of possible confusion.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Hi, I'm quite confused between the difference in meaning of both words. Even more, because in many web pages, I find Shinjuku described as a district but for me it does'nt make sense cause Kabukicho is part of Shinjuku. So both shouldn't be called district. Since I found this extract that seems clearer, I need some help to understand better that difference.

    The campaign involved large-scale arrests without warrants and interrogations of foreigners, and included a well-publicized initiative in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku Ward in Tokyo, an entertainment district in which….
    Thanks
    The following are cites from Wikipedia.

    From Wards of Japan:
    A ward (区 ...) is a subdivision of one of the cities of Japan that is large enough to have been designated by government ordinance. Wards are used to subdivide each city designated by government ordinance ("designated city").
    There is a definition of district as used in Japan in this article, but it doesn't seem to apply to your example, as it is "a local administrative unit comprising towns and villages but not cities."

    Here's the article about Kabukichō, Tokyo, where it is described as an "entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan." District here seems to be used to designate an area of a city which is recognized by the populace but does not necessarily have formal boundaries. In practice, for example, the entertainment district of a city could very well cross the boundaries of officially-designated areas, or be only a small part of an officially-designated area.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    If Shinkjuku as a whole is referred to as a "district", that would be a very loose usage of the word, as it is very much more than just a district in any sense, I would say. Shinjuku (Shinjuku-ku) is in fact a "special ward" of Tokyo, which gives it, in simple terms, the status of a city. Like other wards it's divided into "chome" which are the official districts in Japanese terms. However, Kabukichou consists of two of these official districts (called Kabukichou 1 and 2 chome) , so to call it as a whole a "district" is to use the term loosely or generally (rather than technically in Japanese terms).

    However, I think such technicalities hardly matter in general conversation or writing, and it seems quite natural to speak of Kabukichou as a single "district", and it is often called that.
     
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