Omi-Hachiman to remain “Omi-Hachiman” after merging with Azuchi

As reported earlier, Omi-Hachiman and neighboring Azuchi are planning to merge in March 2010. On May 22, 2009, the deliberation committee for the merger between the two municipalities held a vote to decide the new name of the city after merging. Two proposed names were up for voting: Omi-Hachiman (近江八幡) and Omi-Hachiman-Azuchi (近江八幡安土).

It was a close vote, but Omi-Hachiman won the most votes. I’m surprised that “Azuchi” was not one of the options. The Azuchi name is far more famous than Omi-Hachiman. Japan’s Azuchi-Momoyama Period is named after Azuchi Castle built by Oda Nobunaga.

It is likely that “Azuchi-cho” will be retained as a place name in addresses after the merger. The current Omi-Hachiman City Hall will serve as the new city’s city hall, while the Azuchi Town Hall will be a branch office.

However, there might be a stumbling block to this merger by a citizen’s group in Azuchi petitioning for the recall of its mayor who is railroading this merger through.

Interesting that neighboring Ryuo-cho is out of the merger picture. Ryuo has the Daihatsu auto factories, but residents still depend on Omi-Hachiman for daily living.