Please help me format this Japanese address
December 9, 2016 9:51 AM   Subscribe

I have checked online for advice, but the bits in the address I have do not seem to match up with the bits that are mentioned in the how-to article. Help!

The address was given to me all on one line, like this:

Laurel Heights #103, 1048-57, Makata, Oaza, Kobayashi-Shi, Miyuzaki-Ken

I have changed some numbers and words slightly at the beginning to avoid posting the exact address. I also have a version in Japanese (also all on one line) but I don't know how to anonymize that so I didn't include it.

posted by insoluble uncertainty to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Something is off... there are a few misspellings here:

There's a Magata in Kobayashi-shi in Miyazaki-ken: postcode info from Japan Post.

(If you don't get sufficient responses here, feel free to memail me the actual address and I can help diagnose)
posted by homodachi at 10:00 AM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Check your memail.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:18 AM on December 9, 2016

Response by poster: Homodachi I MeMailed you the unmodified address in English and Japanese since you said something seems off with this one. Thanks so much for your help!
posted by insoluble uncertainty at 10:19 AM on December 9, 2016

Best answer: Posting with permission from OP:

The original address was (truncated & obfuscated for privacy):

I would write this in English as:
1111-11 Oaza Magata
Kobayashi-shi, Miyazaki-ken

I thought 大字 (the "Oaza" part of "Oaza Magata") part of the address was interesting, since Japan Post's page for that section of the city just lists it as Magata. Pasting that part of the address into Google Maps also results in "Magata, Kobayashi, Miyazaki Prefecture".

Here's an explanation in Japanese of "Oaza" and other words that can appear in Japanese addresses. TL;DR: it's a holdover from the Meiji area when a town (in this case, Magata) was incorporated into another one. I think it's strange that "Oaza" doesn't appear on the Japan Post website, though.

I think correspondence to this address would be successful whether "Oaza" were included in it or not, but I'm adding this info in case others want to weigh in.
posted by homodachi at 1:00 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I agree with homodachi, the "oaza" could be left out. Same as "shi" and "ken" really. You see Japanese companies writing their own addresses with the oaza, without it, before the name, after, hyphenated, not... it clearly doesn't make a huge difference.

As a general rule, as long as the 7-digit postcode is correct and prominent (top or bottom of address block is best) the letter will get to the correct neighborhood, and as long as the rest is legible someone there will be able to figure it out how to piece it together. Like most other services in Japan the post office is really conscientious—they won't gleefully throw your letter on the "undeliverable" pile for a misplaced comma, and whatever minor quirks may be in your romanized address, they've definitely seen worse in this age of online retail!
posted by No-sword at 2:03 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, homodachi has it and for future reference No-sword too. If you have the correct postcode and the name, it will pretty much get there even if the other bits are off. This is especially true of a rural place like Kobayashi. Speaking from experience (Very, Very Small World Department)--I used to live on the other side of the tracks in Oaza Hosono. I received all the mail that was ever sent to me regardless of how garbled people got parts of the address.

Small technicality, I would make the order of "1111-11 Oaza Magata" the other way round "Oaza Magata 1111-11".
posted by Gotanda at 3:02 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not sure if you are actually sending something, but in case you are, my advice is - don't worry too much. Japan Post is amazing and as long as you have the postal code correct and most of the numbers correct, it will arrive.

The 7-digit postal code is extremely specific and specifies up to the name of the part of town. If you are sure of the numbers after that, your post will arrive correctly, especially in a small city / town like Kobayashi-shi, which has only 45,000 people.

If you really, really want to be sure something arrives correctly, the surefire way is to print the address in Japanese, and simply write "Miyazaki-ken, Japan" in English. Once it arrives in Japan, Japan Post handles stuff better if it is in Japanese.
posted by xmts at 4:29 PM on December 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Postal codes specify everything except the numbers. The equivalent would be if a ZIP code specified everything down to the street name. That means that you can mail something to someone with just their name, postal code, and additional numbers. Back at my old apartment I received a letter from a friend addressed to:


I'm sure the post office thought "smartass," but the numbers convey the exact same information as in the written out address, the words are just an additional layer of redundancy and easier for the actual delivery man to decipher.
posted by Bugbread at 8:58 PM on December 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

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