Village head

A village head, village headman or village chief is the community leader of a village or a small town.[1]

The village head of Kabanjahe in the Dutch East Indies in the 1930s



In Brunei, village head is called ketua kampung or ketua kampong in the Malay language. It is an administrative post which leads the community of a village administrative division, the third and lowest subdivision of the country.


Generally in Malaysia, the village head is called Ketua Kampung, except for the proto Malay village where the position is called Batin. Ketua Kampung was appointed and assisted by Majlis Pengurusan Komuniti Kampung (Village Community Management Board). In Sarawak, the head of a traditional long house is called Tuai Rumah.


The village head in Indonesia is called Kepala Desa.


In China, village head (simplified Chinese: 村长; traditional Chinese: 村長; pinyin: cūn zhǎng) is a local government or tribal post. The village headman is the person appointed to administer an area that is often a single village.

Duties and functionsEdit

The headman has several official duties in the village, and is sometimes seen as a mediator in disputes and a general “fixer” of village or individuals problems.

Examples of headmanship have been observed among the Zuni,[2] !Kung, and Mehinacu,[3] among others. Nearby tribal leaders recognized or appointed by the Chinese were known as tusi (tu-szu; Chinese: 土司; pinyin: tǔsī; Wade–Giles: t'u3-szu1), although they could command larger areas than a single village.

Historical usageEdit


In Edo period Japan, the village head was called nanushi (名主) and was in charge of tax collection, general village administration, management of public natural resources (such as mountain, field, river and ocean) of the village, as well as negotiating with the territorial lord as the representative of the villagers.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "What does a Village Head do? (with picture)". wiseGEEK. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  2. ^ Ruth Benedict. Patterns of Culture, New American Library, 1934
  3. ^ Marvin Harris. Our Kind, Harper Perennial, 1989
  4. ^ Hyakkajiten Maipedia 百科事典マイペディア. Heibonsha 平凡社. 1996. 庄屋. ISBN 978-4582096316.