History of Japan

History of Japan and Tokyo

Japan is an East Asian country made up of an archipelago. It is located between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of ​​Japan, east of China, Russia and the Korean peninsula. It is basically an archipelago made up of several islands, being Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku, the main ones since they form 97% of the total surface of the country. Tokyo is the capital city of Japan according to itypemba.

Despite having a relatively small footprint compared to countries like Russia or the United States, it is one of the most populous countries in the world, with a population of around 128 million people. Its capital, Tokyo, is the largest urban area in the world in terms of population, with a population of more than 30 million people. Today. Japan is the nation with the greatest technological coverage and the third economic power, surpassed only by China and the United States, in addition to having one of the richest cultural lives in the world.

Name’s origin

Official name in Japanese: “Nihon”, “Nippon” or “the Japanese State”.

Literally, Nippon means ‘the origin of the sun’, a name that the Chinese gave it because it was located in eastern China.

Known as ” The Land of the Rising Sun “. Its flag, a red circle, also refers to that rising sun.


See the article History of Japan


The ancient history of Japan is mixed with mythology. The Shinto was the religion principal. It is a religion of Japan, whose origin and founder are unknown. It is characterized by respect for nature, ancestors and national heroes. The belief in the divinity of the emperor would be at that time one of its main characteristics. The two oldest shrines to be built are said to be the Ise Shrine and the Izumo Taisha Shrine at Taisha near Matsue at the time of the gods’ mythology.

During the sixth century the Buddhism imported from Korea and China would extend by the country exerting an important influence in all areas. During the following centuries, Buddhism would play an important role in creating Japan’s unique culture.

At the beginning of the 7th century the regent Shotoku Taishi would carry out political reforms and establish a constitutional government. In addition, it would contribute significantly to developing the culture of education. This prince, with an ardent devotion to Buddhism, had numerous temples built, the most important of which was the Horyuji Temple, considered the oldest wooden building in the world.

Tokyo History

Although small towns and temples existed in the hills near Tokyo Bay since ancient times, it is considered that the formal foundation of Tokyo was in 1457, when a vassal of the Uesugi clan, Ōta Dōkan built Edo Castle (Edo- jō); thus the area that surrounded the castle began to be called Edo (literally “estuary”). The Tokugawa Shogunate, which had seized the castle in 1590 and had almost complete control of Japan, established its government in Edo in 1603, initiating the Edo Period in Japanese history. The nobility, along with the Emperor of Japan, remained in Kyoto, which remained the official capital, although only in a formal manner.

Edo suffered countless disasters, including hundreds of fires, most notably the Great Edo Fire (Edo Taika) of 1657, where around one hundred thousand people died. The reason for the constant fires was that all the houses in Edo were machiya or urban wooden houses. Other disasters Edo suffered included the eruption of Mount Fuji in 1707, the Great Edo Earthquake in 1855, and other minor earthquakes in 1703, 1782, and 1812.

At the end of 1868, with the decline of the shogunate throughout Japan and the beginning of the Meiji Restoration, the Emperor moved to Edo Castle, making it the great Imperial Palace of Japan and established the name change from Edo to Tokyo there., “The capital of the east.” However, the Emperor did not legally establish that Tokyo was the new capital of Japan, so it is popularly believed that Kyoto is still the official capital or co-capital of the country. In 1871 the han or fiefdoms were abolished, and prefectures were formally created, including Tokyo Prefecture; and the following year the prefecture expanded to the area occupied by the 23 Special Neighborhoods that it currently has.

Starting in 1872, the first railway line began to be built and between 1885 and 1925 the Yamanote Line was built, an urban railway line that is the most important in Tokyo today. In 1889 the City of Tokyo (Tōkyō-shi) was established with 15 wards, then in 1893 the Tama wards were joined to the prefecture. In 1914 the Tokyo Station was inaugurated and in 1927 the first underground subway was inaugurated on the Ginza Line.

The Great Kantō earthquake struck Tokyo in 1923, with a toll of approximately 143,000 people. After the tragedy, a reconstruction plan began that could not be completed due to its high cost. Despite this, the city continued its development until the beginning of the Second World War. In 1936 the building of the Kokkai (Diet of Japan) was inaugurated; Also in that same year the incident occurred on February 26, in which 1,500 officers of the Japanese army occupied the building Kokkai, the Kantei (Residence of the Prime Minister) and other places of Tokyo in an attempted coup of State, which he was suffocated three days later.

In 1943 the prefecture and the city of Tokyo merged to form the Tokyo Metropolis (Tōkyō-to), also known simply as Tokyo, which at the time consisted of 35 neighborhoods. As of this date, there is no city in Japan called Tokyo.

During World War II, Tokyo was heavily bombed from 1942 to 1945. Because of this, the population of Tokyo in 1945 was half that of 1940. At the end of the war, in September 1945, Tokyo was militarily occupied and came to be governed by the Allied Forces. General Douglas MacArthur established the occupation headquarters in what is now DN Tower 21 (formerly known as Dai-Ichi Seimei), opposite the Imperial Palace. In the second half of the 20th century, the United States took advantage of Tokyo as a major logistics center during the wars in the Republic of Korea and Vietnam. Today, Yokota Air Base and a few minor military installations still remain under US control.

History of Japan