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Why is Gotanda called Gotanda?

In Japanese History on March 31, 2013 at 12:46 am

五反田
Gotanda (5000m² Rice Paddy)

Gotanda Station

Gotanda Station

Today’s a busy day, so I chose an easy place name.

It’s made of 3 kanji: go (five), tan an obsolete unit of area (used for land, cloth, etc…), and ta (rice paddy).

1 反田 = about 1000m² or roughly 1/10th of a hectare.
Therefore 5 反田 = about ½ a hectare.

As it was just a bunch of rice paddies that compromised a subdivision of 大崎村 Ōsaki Mura (Ōsaki Village), the area was relatively insignificant until 1911 when a Yamanote Line station was built here. (By the way, the next station is Ōsaki).

As a place name, it’s not unique. It also occurs as a family name.
And there are other numerological variations.
For example:
一反田  Ittanda (1)
壹反田  Ittanda (1)
二反田  Nitanda (2)
三反田  Santanda (3)
八反田  Hattanda (8)
千代反田 Chiyotanda (1000)
etc….

An interesting note is that without a numerological prefix, the surname 反田 is read as Sorita, not Tanda.

As for Gotanda, I have nothing really to add to this except that there is a famous yakuza “family” based in the area, and as such there a lot of sex shops and a few love hotels operating there. It’s not all grimy, though. The area is a popular drinking town because (1) it’s on the Yamanote Line and (2) there are many sex shops there. Oh wait…

Typical Gotanda...

Gotanda….

 

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