Wu (region)

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General map of the Wu area.

Wu (吳), also called Wuyue (吳越), is a region in the Jiangnan area (the south of the Yangtze River), surrounding Suzhou, in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces of China. The term "Wu" is also used as an abbreviation for several kingdoms based in the area. The two largest cities in the Wu region are Shanghai and Hangzhou. The Wu language and its dialects are spoken in this region.


The first Wu state was established in the late Western Zhou Dynasty. Once considered to be a vassal state of the Zhou Dynasty, it emerged as a major power among the various states in China at the end of the Spring and Autumn Period.

The most influential Wu state was Eastern Wu, which existed during the Three Kingdoms period.

The city of Suzhou (also called Wu) has traditionally been the capital of the Wu states. The dialect spoken in Suzhou is usually regarded as the standard Wu language.

Go-on (呉音), which is one of the sources of Japanese pronunciation for Chinese characters (the others being kan-on, tō-on and kan'yō-on), is sometimes said to have originated from this region.[citation needed] The Go- component in the name Go-on is cognate to the Chinese word Wu (Wu is the pronunciation for the glyph 吳 in Mandarin. However, in Wu language 呉 is usually pronounced as Ho, Oh, Ng, or Nguu).

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