History of Tokyo

History of Tokyo

Before Edo Period

The beginning Tokyo, formerly referred to as Edo before becoming the imperial capital in 1868, has a long history. Tokyo has a history dating back to as early as to over 10,000B.C when it was just a collection of shallows and tidal pools right at the mouth of the Sumida River. The early dewellers of the area were hunters, food gatherers, and fishers. Their life was just about hunting, gathering, and fishing for about 4,000 years when wet rice farming was started during the Yayoi period.

Shinto, native religion of Japan,  started during this period and  went on for over a thousand years until the Yamato clan took control of the area. The Yamato clan claimed direct decent from the sun goddess Amaterasu; these were the ones who introduced the emperor (tennō title) in Japan around 5th century.

Edo Period (1603 – 1867)

In 1590, the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu selected Edo to be his military headquarters.  After Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu made Edo his headquarter in 1603, Tokyo started to floursih. The Edo castle’s outer enclosures were completed in 1606.  The Edo Period lasted for nearly 260 years until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when the Tokugawa Shogunate ended and imperial rule was restored. The Emperor moved to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo. Thus, Tokyo became the capital of Japan. Meiji Restoration  started to transform Tokyo into a modern city.

Meiji Period (1868 – 1912)

In 1867/68, the Tokugawa era found its end in the Meiji Restoration. The emperor Meiji was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo which became the new capital, which means his imperial power was restored. Following the Meiji restoration, the new rulers engaged in ambitious militarization and industrialization programs.

In 1869 Japan’s first telecommunications line was opened between Tokyo and Yokohama and the first railroad connecting Tokyo to the port of Yokohama opened in 1872. By 1889, Japan had developed a Western style constitution.
With rapid industrialization in Japan, the population grew rapidly as more people came to the city to look for jobs. Electric lighting was introduced in the 1880s followed by rapid construction of western style brick buildings especially in the areas around Ginza. Few years later, the first Western style department store, Mitsukoshi.

In 1882 Japan’s first zoological gardens were opened in Ueno. In 1885 the cabinet system of government was adopted and Ito Hirobumi became Japan’s first prime minister. With the promulgation of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan in 1889 Japan established the political system of a modern state.

Taisho Period (1912-1926)

The number of people working in cities increased, and a growing proportion of citizens began to lead consumer lifestyles during Taisho Period. Educational standards improved, and the number of girls going on to study at higher schools increased. Performing arts such as theater and opera thrived. In 1926, Emperor Taisho died ending the Taisho Period and with the crowning of Emperor Hirohito came the beginning of Showa Period.

Showa Period (1926-1989)

After Second World War, The 1950s were a time of gradual recovery for Japan. Tokyo was rebuilt pretty fast and by 1951, the central business district and the subway had started to take their present day form. In the 1960s and 1970s, the city grew fast as an economic center and center of learning making it to attract more people. The 1964 Olympics are probably what put more fuel to fast growth of the city.

The rapid industrialization and growing demand for housing in the Japan resulted to what is known as the bubble economy, which occurred in the 1980s when real estate prices and stock prices were at their record high. Many multinationals went on a property buying spree. Some of the notable companies including Columbia Pictures, Rockefeller and Pebble Beach Golf Course acquired property in Japan.

Heisei Period (1889 – )

The bubble, however. burst in 1989 when the stock market crashed after which Japan went into a state of economic slump in the 1990s.

In September 2013 Tokyo was selected to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tokyo is advancing preparations to make its second Games the best ever.

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