Tokyo Escort Agency: The History Of Tokyo

The History Of Tokyo

Tokyo started out as a small fishing village named Edo. In 1457 Ota Dokan built Edo castle, but it was not until 1590 when Tokugawa Ieyasu (the warlord that unified Japan and became its first shogun 1603) made Edo his base that the town became the centre of the national government. The period that followed is called “Edo” and thought the emperor’s residence remained in Kyoto, Tokyo was to all intents and purposes the capital of Japan for the two hundred and sixty three years of Tokugawa rule. Edo already had a population of more than one million  . In %^^^^&* the Shogunate was overthrown. In 1869 the 17 year old Emperor Meiji moved to Edo and turned Edo Castle into the Imperial Palace, this act made Tokyo the official capital of Japan although it had long been the cultural and political centre of the country. Thus the city of Tokyo was established, and continued to be the capital until it was abolished as a municipality in 1943 and merged with the “Metropolitan Prefecture” of Tokyo.


Major Events in Tokyo’s History

Tokyo suffered two major catastrophes in the 20th century, but it recovered from both. One was the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, and the other was World War II. The carpet bombing of Tokyo in 1945 was almost as destructive as the combined effect of the atomic bombs that struck Hiroshima and Nagasaki putting the death count between 75,000 to 200,000 and leaving half the city destroyed. After the war Tokyo was completely rebuilt, and showcased to the world during the 1964 Summer Olympics. The 1970s brought new high-rise developments such as Sunshine 60, a new and controversial airport at Narita in 1978 and a population increase to about 11 million (in the Metropolitan area).


Tokyo’s planning and Communications

The design of central Tokyo, like Osaka, since about 1900 has been centered around major train stations in a high density fashion, so it was possible to build suburban railways relatively cheaply and with their own right of way. This differs from cities in the United States, such as Los Angeles, that are low-density and automobile-centric. Though expressways have been built in Tokyo, the basic design has not changed.

  Tokyo’s subway and commuter rail network become one of the busiest in the world, as more and more people moved to the area. In the 1980s real estate prices sky-rocketed during a real estate and debt bubble. The bubble burst in the early 1990s and many companies, banks, and individuals were caught with the mortgage-backed debts while real estate was shrinking in value, leaving them in negative equity. A major recession followed, making the 1990s Japan’s “lost decade” from which it has started to recover. Major developers still build new large scale urban developments, recent project include Ebisu Garden Place, Tennozu Isle, Shiodome, Roppongi Hills, Roppongi Midtown, Shinagawa and the Marunouchi Center. Buildings of significance are demolished are demolished for more up-to-date shopping facilities such as Omotesando Hills. Land reclamation projects in Tokyo have also been going on for centuries. The most prominent is the Odaiba area, now a major shopping and entertainment center. Various plans have been proposed for transferring national government functions from Tokyo to secondary capitals in other regions of Japan, in order to slow down the rapid development of Tokyo and revitalize economically lagging areas of the country. These plans have been controversial within Japan and have yet to be realized.


The Organization of The Metropolis.

The mainland portion of Tokyo lies northwest of Tokyo Bay and measures about 90 km east to west and 25 km north to south. Chiba Prefecture borders it to the east, Yamanshi to the west, Kanagawa to the south, and Saitama to the north. Mainland Tokyo is further subdivided into the special wards (occupying the eastern half) and the Tama area stretching westwards.

Also within the administrative boundaries of Tokyo Metropolis are two island chains in the Pacific Ocean directly south: the Izu Islands, and the Ogasawara Islands, which stretch more than 1,000 km away from mainland Japan. Because of these islands and mountainous regions to the west, Tokyo’s overall population density figures far under-represent the real figures for urban and suburban regions of Tokyo.

Under Japanese law, Tokyo is designated as a “to” which means “metropolis”. Its administrative structure is similar to that of Japan’s other prefectures. Within Tokyo lie dozens of smaller entities, most of them conventionally referred to as cities. It includes the 23 special wards which until 1943 comprised the city of Tokyo but are now separate, self-governing municipalities, each with a mayor and a council, and having the status of a city. In addition to these 23 municipalities, Tokyo also encompasses 26 more cities, five towns-cho or machi), and eight villages, each of which has a local government. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is headed by a publicly elected governor and metropolitan assembly. Its headquarters are in the ward of Shinjuku. They govern all of Tokyo, including lakes, rivers, dams, farms, remote islands, and national parks in addition to its famous neon jungle, skyscrapers and crowded subways. 

The 23 special wards

Tokyo is a metropolis. The area formerly incorporated as Tokyo city has now been divided into 23 special wards (tokubetsu-ku). On July 1, 1943, Tokyo City was merged with Tokyo Prefecture (Tokyo-tu) forming the current “metropolitan prefecture”. As a result of this merger, unlike other city wards in Japan, these wards are not part of any larger incorporated city. Each ward is a municipality with its own elected mayor and assembly like the other cities of Japan. The wards differ from other cities in having a unique administrative relationship with the prefectural government. Certain municipal functions, such as waterworks, sewerage, and fire-fighting, are handled by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. To pay for the added administrative costs, the prefecture collects municipal taxes, which would usually be levied by the city. The special wards of Tokyo are as follows:


The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has designated Hachioji, Tachikawa, Machida, Ome and Tama New Town as regional centers of the Tama area, as part of their plans to disperse urban functions away from central Tokyo.

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