A Minute History Of Tokyo
Was Founded ‘Cause:
Edo underwent massive development in the 1600s and became the town from which Eastern Japan was ruled. Though the castles’ construction wasn’t fully completed until 1637, a thriving town rose around it. Over the next 250 years it (tell us the name of the town if it’s different than Tokyo.) functioned under the Japanese feudal system, with shoguns leading and the samurai rising to be a distinguished class of warriors. By 1721 it had become the world’s largest city, with a population of 1.1 million! In 1868 however, Yoshinobu Tokugawa, the last shogun, surrendered power after a military defeat by provincial lords seeking to restore an Emperor.
In the shogun’s palace in 1701, Asano Nagaroni, lord of Ako Domain, cut the highest-ranking master of protocol (Kira Yoshinaka) with his sword. He was immediately forced to commit seppuku (a ritual suicide) for his crime. The following year, however, Asano’s 47 retainers avenged their master’s death by attacking and beheading Kira Yoshinaka at his residence. Their incredible loyalty has been imortalised as the Chushingura story.
The beginning of the oligarchy of the Emperor Meiji commenced the Meiji Restoration. Edo was renamed Tokyo (meaning Eastern Capital) – it was also generally considered to be the new capital of the country, since traditionally the capital is where the Emperor lives. The feudal system then gave way to the prefectural system and the Tokyo Prefecture was established, making Tokyo a Constitutional Monarchy.
Tokyo also experienced the industrial revolution, with a network of trains being built in the late 1800s and its first subway opening in 1927. Tokyo has also always suffered from damaging earthquakes – the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923 killed about 70,000 people – but the city has since built all of its infrastructure to be earthquake-resistant.
Tokyo was heavily bombed in WW2 and was occupied by the Allies in the later years of the war, being temporarily controlled by Allied forces. Since then, Tokyo has experienced a rapid technological and economic expansion and continues to be a thriving tourist hub. This expansion slowed down when the boom ended in the 1990s and the Tõhuku earthquake tradegy having damaging effects on the economy.
The current Governor of Tokyo is Yuriko Koike, the first woman to be in that position. Today, the city continues to be famed for its modernity, unbelievably efficient and precise subway system, and unique, colourful culture.