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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Place names and the rediscovery of former landscapes in Izumo City and Hikawa Town, Japan Yamamoto, Midori


Place names in Japan are closely connected to the land where they were named. Differences between Japan and the West regarding the concept of “what is named” are introduced, and universal characteristics of place names are reviewed. Some of the unique and complex characteristics of Japanese place names are also examined. In Japan, especially since early in the Meiji Period (1 808-1 912), many traditional place names have been lost, mainly due to attempts to reduce and simplify names through local government reform. In this thesis, an analysis is made of place names collected from land registration maps issued in 1889 in Izurno City and Hikawa Town, Shimane Prefecture, Japan. Ancient physical and historical landscapes are reconstructed by investigating the distribution patterns and etymologies of place names occurring in the research area. This research shows that place names are valuable messages from the past that tell us many physical and historical features about the land of the past.

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