March 5, 1896

Division of Okinawa by Imperial Edict

On March 5, 1896, the Japanese government announced Imperial Edict 13. This was implemented on April 1 under Home Ministry Ordinance 2. Okinawa, excluding the wards of Naha and Shuri, was divided into the five administrative districts (gun) of Shimajiri, Nakagami, Kunigami, Miyako, and Yaeyama, and each district came within the jurisdiction of a local administrative office. Regarding incorporation of the Senkaku Islands into Japanese territory, it is presumed that the Senkakus entered under Yaeyama jurisdiction with this Imperial edict, as the Yaeyama Islands government had petitioned for jurisdiction. (Ref.1)


Imperial Edict 13

  • Article 1. Excluding the wards of Naha and Shuri, Okinawa Prefecture is divided  into five districts.
    • Shimajiri District: Subdistricts of Shimajiri village;
        Kumejima Island, Kerama Islands, Tonakijima Island, Agunijima Island,
        Iheya Islands, Torishima Island, and Daitojima Island
    • Nakagami District: Subdistricts of Nakagami village
    • Kunigami District: Subdistricts of Kunigami village; Iejima Island
    • Miyako District: The Miyako Islands
    • Yaeyama District: The Yaeyama Islands
  • Article 2. The Home Minister is authorized to make changes to district boundaries and names as required.
    Supplementary Provisions
  • Article 3. The Home Minister is authorized to decide when this edict is to be implemented





Ref.1 :Imperial Edict 13, "Okinawa-ken no gun hensei ni kansuru ken" (Regarding Organization of Districts in Okinawa Prefecture). In the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records, National Archives of Japan.




→ Petition to Incorporate the Senkaku Islands from the Yaeyama Islands Government (January 13, 1890)