History of Tokyo

Jump to: navigation, search

Written mainly by Philbert Ono

Early History

Graves of 47 Ronin at Sengakuji Temple. See year 1701.

Tokyo's former name was "Edo" also spelled "Yedo" (archaic).

  • 1457 As ordered by Uesugi Mochitomo, the construction of Edo Castle begins in what is now the East Garden of the Imperial Palace. Ota Dokan, Uesugi's vassal, is assigned the task.
  • 1524 Hojo Ujitsuna enters Edo Castle.
  • 1590 Tokugawa Ieyasu occupies Edo Castle.
  • 1603 Tokugawa becomes shogun and rules Japan from Edo Castle, starting the Edo period of Japan which lasts until 1868. Edo develops rapidly under the Tokugawa shoguns.
  • 1637 The construction of Edo Castle, including the main tower, is finally completed.
  • 1657 The Great Fire of Edo (Edo Taika) destroys much of the Yoshiwara red-light district, Asakusa, and Edo Castle. 100,000 people die.
  • 1701 In the shogun's palace, Asano Naganori draws his sword in a fit of anger and cuts Kira Yoshinaka, the highest-ranking master of protocol who had mocked Asano. Asano was immediately forced to commit ritual seppuku. At the end of the following year, his 47 masterless retainers avenged their master's death by attacking and beheading Kira at his residence in Ryogoku. This story of loyalty soon becomes a timeless classic known as "Chushingura."
  • 1707 Mt. Fuji erupts and ash falls on Edo.
  • 1855 The Great Edo Earthquake strikes.
  • 1860 Ii Naosuke, who favored opening Japan to the West, is assassinated by anti-foreign rebel samurai.
  • 1867 Yoshinobu Tokugawa, Japan's last shogun, surrenders power to the emperor and flees Edo in 1868 following military defeat by powerful provincial lords seeking to return power to the Emperor.

Modern History

  • 1868 With the Meiji Restoration, the ruler of Japan shifts from the shogun to an oligarchy ruling under the banner of the emperor. Edo is renamed as "Tokyo (Tokio)," meaning "Eastern Capital," as ordered by Emperor Meiji.
  • 1869 Emperor Meiji moves to Tokyo and makes Tokyo Castle, the Imperial Palace. However, the capital was never legally "transferred" from Kyoto to Tokyo, making some people believe that Kyoto may still be the capital, or a co-capital today. See: Capital of Japan debate. A foreigner settlement is established at Tsukiji.
  • 1871 The feudal han system is abolished to establish the prefectural system. Tokyo Prefecture is thereby established.
  • 1872 Tokyo Prefecture expands to include what is now the 23 wards. Also, Tokyo's (and Japan's) first rail line opens between Shinbashi (now Shiodome) and Yokohama (now Sakuragicho).
  • 1874 The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is established.
  • 1882 Ueno Zoo is completed.
  • 1885 The first section of what was to become the Yamanote Line opens between Akabane and Shinagawa Stations. Train stations such as Shibuya and Shinjuku Stations open as a result.
  • 1889 Tokyo City is established with 15 wards.
  • 1893 The three Tama districts are admitted into Tokyo Prefecture.
  • 1898 The special city ordinance for Tokyo city is abolished, making Tokyo city a normal city.
  • 1899 The foreigner settlement at Tsukiji is abolished.
  • 1914 Tokyo Station opens.
  • 1923 The Great Kanto earthquake strikes Tokyo, killing approximately 70,000 people. A massive reconstruction plan was drawn up, but was too expensive to complete.
  • 1925 The Yamanote Line looping train line is finally completed when the section between Kanda and Ueno Stations is completed. Construction first started in 1885.
  • 1927 Tokyo's first subway (Ginza Line) opens between Asakusa and Ueno.
  • 1932 Five districts and 82 towns and villages are admitted to Tokyo city which then has 35 wards.
  • 1936 The National Diet Building is completed. In an attempted coup (the February 26 Incident), nearly 1500 junior officers of Japan's army occupied the National Diet Building, the Kantei (Prime Minister's Residence) and other key locations in Tokyo. The coup was suppressed by the Army and Navy within three days.
  • 1942 Tokyo suffers the Doolittle Raid, its first air raid by US bombers, soon after the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 1941.
  • 1943 Tokyo Prefecture and Tokyo city merge to form Tokyo Metropolis or Tokyo-to, commonly called "Tokyo." Since this time, no city in Japan has had the name "Tokyo."
  • 1945 Tokyo was heavily bombed, and much of the city was burned to the ground by heavy bombardment by B-29 and other aircraft. Extensive tracts of land were leveled both by the explosions and by the subsequent fires. The damage was not limited to the former Tokyo City, but extended to Hachioji and other cities in western Tokyo, as the bombers targeted air bases, transportation facilities, and strategically important manufacturing plants. Due to the heavy death toll and populace fleeing to the countryside, the population in 1945 was only half that of 1940. From September on, Tokyo is under military occupation and governed by the allied forces. General Douglas MacArthur established the occupation headquarters in what is now the DN Tower 21 (formerly the Dai-Ichi Seimei building) overlooking the Imperial Palace. The American presence in Tokyo made it an important command and logistics center during the Korean War. Tokyo still hosts Yokota Air Base and a small number of minor U.S. military installations.
  • 1947 Tokyo's wards is reduced to 23 which then become special wards.
  • 1954 The Marunouchi Line, Tokyo's second subway line, opens between Ikebukuro and Ochanomizu.
  • 1958 Tokyo Tower is completed.
  • 1961 The Hibiya subway line opens between Minami-senju and Naka-Okachimachi.
  • 1964 The Tokaido Shinkansen opens on October 1 in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games starting on October 10. Tokyo's re-emergence from wartime trauma was complete at the 1964 Summer Olympics, which publicized the city on an international stage and brought global attention to the "economic miracle".
  • 1968 The Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands) are returned to Japan and become part of Tokyo.
  • 1977 Tachikawa Air Force Base is returned to Japan and later converted partially into a park.
  • 1978 The New Tokyo International Airport (now Narita International Airport) in nearby Chiba Prefecture opens. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) then serves mainly domestic flights.
  • 1986 The bubble economy starts with land prices skyrocketing.
  • 1988 The Tokyo Dome indoor baseball stadium is completed.
  • 1990 The bubble economy starts to pop, triggering a fall in land prices in Tokyo and everywhere in Japan.
  • 1991 The new Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku is completed.
  • 1993 The Rainbow Bridge is completed.
  • 1995 On March 20, the Aum Shinrikyo cult spread Sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo subway system (in the tunnels beneath the political district of central Tokyo) in which 12 people were killed and thousands affected (see Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway). Newly-elected Tokyo governor Yukio Aoshima announces that he will keep his campaign promise and cancel the World City Expo that was to be held in 1996 in the Odaiba waterfront area.
  • 1999 Shintaro Ishihara is elected Governor of Tokyo.
  • 2000 The Oedo subway line opens.
  • 2001 The cities of Tanashi and Hoya in western Tokyo merge to form Nishi Tokyo city.
  • 2003 Shintaro Ishihara is reelected Governor of Tokyo.
  • 2005 The Tsukuba Express railway line opens.

Related Articles

External links

History of Tokyo by Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Chronological History of Tokyo by Tokyo Metropolitan Government