Japan is made up of 47 different prefectures, and people in many of these regions speak in different dialects. Although researchers have not come to an agreement on how to define different dialects, Japanese is often separated into four main dialects, the Eastern dialect, the Western dialect, the Kyushu dialect, and the Ryukyu dialect. These are further separated into many sub dialects. Standard Japanese was only defined after the beginning of the Meiji period in 1868, and so before that everybody spoke their own dialect. After the modernization of Japan begun, people thought that having a standard Japanese language was necessary, and so the Tokyo dialect became standard Japanese. Dialects are often distinguished by how they use rhythm, accent, intonation, and other aspects of pronunciation. The many dialects which have developed over a long period of time are testament to the large variety of communities present in Japanese culture.