Prefecture vs. Commemorative

If you take a look at the Japan symbols on a prefecture stamp, you will see that a calligraphy-type font is used, so the symbol for Japan is slightly different looking than the Japan symbol on a commemorative.  The commemorative stamp's symbol is more rectangular,
with a line drawn completely through the middle.  On the prefecture symbol, there's also a
line in the middle, but it doesn't touch sides.  If you study the two examples below (symbols are within blue boxes), I believe you will see the difference.



Japanese sense of prefecture

In the Japanese system, the word prefecture is used for translating references to an administrative district, ken (県), which is about the size of a county.

The local self-governing system of Japan consists of 2 classes: prefectures as the large area local governing units and municipalities the basic local governing units. In the Eastern sense, the administrative segregation of a unified nation is usually trifold: the nation, large area local governing units, and basic local governing units. Japan fits this pattern.

Japan is divided into 47 prefectures and each prefecture is further divided into municipalities. These prefectures and municipalities have no overlapping districts or uncovered areas. In short, all the residents in Japan are sure to belong to one prefecture and one municipality.

These prefectures and municipalities are not merely set up as the nation's administrative section, but also as corporate bodies independent from the country that possesses their own basic governing areas and local residents as their constituents. They hold administrative power within the districts in question. In Okinawa, Nagasaki and Hokkaido, subprefectures are used as special administrative units because such regions are too large or remote for a single prefectural government to govern.

List of prefectures

Prefecture Japanese Capital Region Island Population? Area? Density? Distr. Municip. ISO 3166-2
Aichi 愛知県 Nagoya Chubu Honshu 7,043,235 5,153.81 1,366 15 88 JP-23
Akita 秋田県 Akita Tohoku Honshu 1,189,215 11,612.11 102 9 69 JP-05
Aomori 青森県 Aomori Tohoku Honshu 1,475,635 9,606.26 154 8 67 JP-02
Chiba 千葉県 Chiba Kanto Honshu 5,926,349 5,156.15 1,149 9 80 JP-12
Ehime 愛媛県 Matsuyama Shikoku Shikoku 1,493,126 5,676.44 263 11 70 JP-38
Fukui 福井県 Fukui Chubu Honshu 828,960 4,188.76 198 10 35 JP-18
Fukuoka 福岡県 Fukuoka Kyushu Kyushu 5,015,666 4,971.01 1,009 17 97 JP-40
Fukushima 福島県 Fukushima Tohoku Honshu 2,126,998 13,782.54 154 14 90 JP-07
Gifu 岐阜県 Gifu Chubu Honshu 2,107,687 10,598.18 199 15 99 JP-21
Gunma 群馬県 Maebashi Kanto Honshu 2,024,820 6,363.16 318 12 70 JP-10
Hiroshima 広島県 Hiroshima Chugoku Honshu 2,878,949 8,476.95 340 15 86 JP-34
Hokkaido 北海道 Sapporo Hokkaido Hokkaido 5,682,950 83,452.47 68 66 212 JP-01
Hyogo 兵庫県 Kobe Kinki Honshu 5,550,742 8,392.42 661 19 88 JP-28
Ibaraki 茨城県 Mito Kanto Honshu 2,985,424 6,095.62 490 14 84 JP-08
Ishikawa 石川県 Kanazawa Chubu Honshu 1,180,935 4,185.32 282 8 41 JP-17
Iwate 岩手県 Morioka Tohoku Honshu 1,416,198 15,278.51 93 12 59 JP-03
Kagawa 香川県 Takamatsu Shikoku Shikoku 1,022,843 1,861.70 549 6 37 JP-37
Kagoshima 鹿児島県 Kagoshima Kyushu Kyushu 1,786,214 9,132.42 196 12 96 JP-46
Kanagawa 神奈川県 Yokohama Kanto Honshu 8,489,932 2,415.42 3,515 7 37 JP-14
Kochi 高知県 Kochi Shikoku Shikoku 813,980 7,104.70 115 7 53 JP-39
Kumamoto 熊本県 Kumamoto Kyushu Kyushu 1,859,451 6,908.45 269 11 94 JP-43
Kyoto 京都府 Kyoto Kinki Honshu 2,644,331 4,612.93 573 12 44 JP-26
Mie 三重県 Tsu Kinki Honshu 1,857,365 5760.72 322 14 69 JP-24
Miyagi 宮城県 Sendai Tohoku Honshu 2,365,204 6,861.51 325 15 71 JP-04
Miyazaki 宮崎県 Miyazaki Kyushu Kyushu 1,170,023 6,684.67 175 8 44 JP-45
Nagano 長野県 Nagano Chubu Honshu 2,214,409 12,598.48 163 16 120 JP-20
Nagasaki 長崎県 Nagasaki Kyushu Kyushu 1,516,536 4,092.80 371 9 79 JP-42
Nara 奈良県 Nara Kinki Honshu 1,442,862 3,691.09 391 8 47 JP-29
Niigata 新潟県 Niigata Chubu Honshu 2,475,724 12,582.37 197 16 111 JP-15
Oita 大分県 Oita Kyushu Kyushu 1,221,128 5,804.24 210 12 58 JP-44
Okayama 岡山県 Okayama Chugoku Honshu 1,950,656 7,008.63 278 18 78 JP-33
Okinawa 沖縄県 Naha Kyushu Okinawa 1,318,281 2,271.30 580 5 53 JP-47
Osaka 大阪府 Osaka Kinki Honshu 8,804,806 1,893.18 4,652 5 44 JP-27
Saga 佐賀県 Saga Kyushu Kyushu 876,664 2,439.23 359 8 49 JP-41
Saitama 埼玉県 Saitama Kanto Honshu 6,938,004 3,767.09 1,827 9 90 JP-11
Shiga 滋賀県 Otsu Kinki Honshu 1,342,811 4,017.36 334 11 50 JP-25
Shimane 島根県 Matsue Chugoku Honshu 761,499 6,707.32 114 12 59 JP-32
Shizuoka 静岡県 Shizuoka Chubu Honshu 3,767,427 7,328.61 484 12 74 JP-22
Tochigi 栃木県 Utsunomiya Kanto Honshu 2,004,787 6,408.28 313 7 49 JP-09
Tokushima 徳島県 Tokushima Shikoku Shikoku 823,997 4,145.26 199 10 50 JP-36
Tokyo 東京都 Shinjuku Kanto Honshu 12,059,237 2,187.08 5,514 1 39 JP-13
Tottori 鳥取県 Tottori Chugoku Honshu 613,229 3,507.19 175 6 39 JP-31
Toyama 富山県 Toyama Chubu Honshu 1,120,843 4,247.22 264 7 35 JP-16
Wakayama 和歌山県 Wakayama Kinki Honshu 1,069,839 4,725.55 226 7 50 JP-30
Yamagata 山形県 Yamagata Tohoku Honshu 1,244,040 9,323.34 133 9 44 JP-06
Yamaguchi 山口県 Yamaguchi Chugoku Honshu 1,528,107 6,110.76 250 11 56 JP-35
Yamanashi 山梨県 Kofu Chubu Honshu 888,170 4,465.37 199 8 64 JP-19



The following link will take you to one of my favorite websites for seeing nice pictures of 
Japan stamps, dating from 1998 to 2005.  Commemorative Issues, Prefectual and Definitives.    http://yushu.or.jp/english/e_sdate/

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