An interesting and little known fact about Japan…

Written by Lorna Shapiro

I’ve just started planning my next trip to Japan which will happen in November.  This caused me to start examining addresses of some places in Japan I wish to visit. Here is an interesting, perhaps little known, fact about addresses in Japan.  When the US army occupied Japan after the war, they were convinced that the Japanese had stealthily but quickly changed all their addresses to make them totally unintelligible.  It was pretty much impossible, from an address, to figure out where a building was.  The Americans figured it had been done to make their job after the war more difficult to accomplish.  Turns out, Japanese addresses have always been that way and still are.  As I asked my Japanese teacher why this might be, she said that people put their name, not their address, on their house.  The address is only to get you within a few blocks of a place… after that you ask someone local where you will find the family or business you are looking for. Go figure…