Goto next slide"Prefecture"

When:

Lookups spiked on March 11 and continued for several days.

Why:

Reports from Japan about the devastating earthquake and tsunami focused on the several prefectures that were most affected.

In some countries, including Japan and France, prefecture is the official term for a region or district. Japan has 47 prefectures.

A prefect was a governor in Ancient Rome, so a prefecture is an area divided for local government. Prefect comes from the Latin word that means "placed at the head of" – in other words, a leader.

Photo: peter.mottola / flickr