Cities in Asia – Cities in Japan – Tokyo City
Tokyo, capital of Japan and the most populated metropolitan area in the world, with more than 35 million inhabitants. Tokyo is located at the head of Tokyo Bay, the largest of the four main islands of the Japanese archipelago. The city occupies most of the largest area of flat land in Japan. Tokyo has held the capital of Japan since 1868, after the Tokugawa dynasty (1603-1867), which ruled from Kyoto, was overthrown. At that time the city’s name was changed from Edo to Tokyo, which means “eastern capital.” Today Tokyo is Japan’s financial, industrial, commercial, educational, and cultural center; it is also the country’s principal contact point for trade and diplomatic relations with the rest of the world.
The site of Tokyo has been occupied since prehistoric times, but it first appeared in history in the 12th century as an obscure village called Edo (“Gate of the Inlet”), located where the Sumida River joins Tokyo Bay;
By the 18th century Edo had become a major center of domestic commerce and arts as well as political authority. Along with the rest of Japan, Tokyo was kept isolated from foreign influences by a policy of national seclusion. This policy was enforced until the arrival of United States naval vessels in Tokyo Bay in 1854.
In 1868 the emperor’s court was transferred to Edo and the name of the city was changed to Tokyo.
During World War II (1939-1945) Tokyo suffered heavy damage. Tokyo was occupied by U.S. troops from September 1945 to April 1952. In 1954 Tokyo began a period of rapid expansion and renovation. The 1964 Summer Olympic Games were placed in Tokyo. Since the 1970s the city has continued the rapid expansion of its urbanized area.
Tokyo is Japan’s preeminent educational and cultural center. Within Tokyo Metropolis are more than 100 public and private universities, enrolling nearly 30 percent of the nation’s university students.
Tokyo has frequently suffered disastrous earthquakes and fires.