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Tokyo (tōˈkēō), city (1990 pop. 8,163,573), capital of Japan and of Tokyo prefecture, E central Honshu, at the head of Tokyo Bay. The Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area is the world's most populous metropolitan area, with over 28,000,000 people. Tokyo proper consists of an urban area divided into wards, a county area with farms and mountain villages, and the Izu Islands stretching to the S of Tokyo Bay. Tokyo prefecture (1990 pop. 11,854,987), is governed by a popularly elected governor and assembly. The wards and other subsidiary units of the city have their own assemblies.

The city of Tokyo is the administrative, financial, educational, and cultural center of Japan and a major industrial hub surrounded by numerous suburban manufacturing complexes. Tokyo is also one of the world's most important cities in terms of economic power and influence, and it serves as the corporate and communications hub for the E Pacific Rim. Frequent rebuilding in the wake of disasters has made Tokyo one of the most modern cities on the globe. Because space is so precious, it is also one of the most crowded and expensive cities in the world.


In accordance with the city's world position, Tokyo's economy has shifted to put much more emphasis on financial services and banking. It is also an important wholesale center. Among the diverse industries of Tokyo are the manufacture of electronic apparatus, transport equipment, automobiles, cameras and optical goods, furniture, textiles, and a wide variety of consumer items, as well as publishing and printing.

The city, which lies on the Kanto plain, is intersected by the Sumida River and has an extensive network of canals. Yokohama is its seaport, but there is a large constructed port at the mouth of the Sumida, through which such items as electrical products, cameras, and automobiles are exported. The deepening of Tokyo's harbor and the development of storage facilities have gradually lessened the city's dependence on Yokohama. Land reclamation projects in Tokyo Bay have led to waste disposal islands, additional port functions, and even new residential developments.

Tokyo has an outstanding subway system, and the world's first public monorail line runs between downtown and Haneda international airport. Narita International is Tokyo's main airport. The transportation system also includes the Shinkansen, whose “bullet trains” connect Tokyo with Osaka and other cities.

Landmarks and Institutions

Landmarks include the Hie Shrine; the temples of Sengakuji, Gokokuji, and Sensoji; and the Korakuen, a 17th-century landscape garden. The Ginza is Tokyo's shopping and entertainment center; the Marunouchi quarter is the business center. Other developments, which include railway stations, office buildings, shops, and stores, have been constucted in Shinjuku, Shimbashi, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, and other places. The Sky Tree, the highest (2,080 ft/634 m) self-supported structure of its type in the world, was completed in 2012. The architecturally acclaimed International Forum, combining exhibition and performance spaces, opened in 1997.

One of the world's foremost educational centers, Tokyo has over 100 universities and colleges, including Keio-Gijuku Univ. (est. 1867); Tokyo Univ., formerly Tokyo Imperial Univ. (1869); Rikkyo or St. Paul's Univ. (1883); Waseda Univ. (1882); and Tokyo Women's College (1900). There are numerous museums and more than 200 parks and gardens. Tokyo was the site of the 1964 summer Olympic games, and in 2013 it was selected as the site for the 2020 summer games, later postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Archaeological evidence indicates that the site of Tokyo was inhabited by Stone Age tribes. The present city was founded in the 12th cent. as the village of Edo (also Yedo or Yeddo) [estuary]. A local warlord, Edo Taro Shigenada (whose family, according to tradition, probably took the name Edo from their place of residence) built a fort there. In 1456–57 Ota Dokan, ruler of the Kanto region under the Japanese shogunate, constructed a castle at Edo.

The castle passed in 1590 to Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa line of shoguns, who made Edo the capital of a province and, after formally assuming the title of shogun in 1603, the capital of the shogunate. The imperial capital, however, remained at Kyoto. In Tokugawa times, the shogun's palace, encircled by the residences of the daimyos [feudal barons], samurai, and merchants, dominated the city's life. The urban population was increased by the shogun's retainers and by the large retinues of the daimyos, who were obliged to divide their time between their regional power centers and the capital.

Although the city prospered as a commercial and cultural center, it later declined as the shogunate weakened. On Apr. 11, 1868, the last Tokugawa shogun surrendered Edo Castle to the imperial forces. The emperor, restored to power, made Edo his capital, renaming the city Tokyo [eastern capital] as distinguished from Kyoto, since then often called Saikyo [western capital]. The castle then became the royal palace.

The 1923 earthquake and fire destroyed nearly half the densely populated city and took more than 150,000 lives. The rebuilt city included wide streets, designed to serve as firebreaks. Heavy Allied bombing during World War II devastated half of Tokyo, destroyed or damaged many famous landmarks, and ruined nearly all of the city's industrial plant. The American firebombing of Mar. 10, 1945, alone killed 80,000 to 100,000 people. The Meiji shrine (still the most popular in Japan), which was dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his consort, was badly damaged but has been restored. Left entirely intact were the imperial palace grounds and the surrounding area where the embassies, the diet building, and the newest office buildings stand; this area is the administrative center of the city.


See T. Yazaki, Socioeconomic Structure of the Tokyo Metropolitan Complex (1970); J. Conner and M. Yoshida, Tokyo City Guide (1985).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the capital of Japan and the chief economic and cultural center of the country. Tokyo is one of the most populous and fastest-growing cities in the world. It is situated in the southeastern part of Honshu Island, in the Kwanto plain, where the Edo, Ara, Sumida, and Tama rivers empty into Tokyo Bay. It has a subtropical monsoonal climate; the coldest month is January, with a mean temperature of 3.1°C, and the hottest month is August, with a mean temperature of 25.6°C. Average annual precipitation is 1,343 mm. There are two rainy seasons, June–July and September–October, which are marked by frequent typhoons. The city is subject to earthquakes.

The capital prefecture of Tokyo (Tokyo-to), or Greater Tokyo, is a highly urbanized area, with population concentrated in the center and unevenly distributed on the periphery. Area, 2,141,000 sq km. Population, 11.7 million (1975), or about one-tenth of the total population of Japan. The population density is more than 5,000 persons per sq km. The capital prefecture includes Tokyo proper, which is divided into 23 administrative wards (ku) and has an area of 577 sq km and a population of about 9 million (1970), and 26 cities (shi), 24 rural and urban settlements, and the islands of Izu and Ogasawara (Bonin). The capital prefecture and the adjoining Kanagawa, Chiba, and Sai-tama prefectures form the Tokyo Agglomeration, or Capital Region (Shutoken). The population of Tokyo proper increased rapidly immediately after World War II (1939–45); it almost tripled from 1945 to 1970. The rate of population growth was 6 percent over the period 1955–60 but dropped to 0.7 percent in 1960–70; population growth is now virtually stabilized (see Table 1).

Of the economically active population in the capital prefecture (5.8 million in 1969), 41.5 percent were employed in industry, construction, and crafts, 57.0 percent in trade, transportation, and other service sectors, and 1.5 percent in agriculture, forestry, and fishing.


Administration. The city administration is exercised by the metropolitan assembly, which is elected by the population for four-year terms; it is headed by the governor (mayor), who is also elected by the population but who in fact represents the central authorities. The elected bodies have nominally broad powers, but they are in fact controlled to a large extent by the central authorities; they are “under the guidance and supervision” of the government. The city wards of Tokyo have assemblies.

History. Tokyo was founded in the mid-15th century. In 1457 the castle of Edo, or Yedo (literally, “estuary gate”), was built,

Table 1. Changes in population of the capital prefecture of Tokyo
 PrefectureTokyo proper
1889. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,370,000577,000
1903. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,819,000
1920. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3,699,0002,173,000
1940. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7,355,0006,779,000
1945. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3,488,000
1960. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9,684,0008,310,000
1970. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11,408,0008,841,000

and artisans’ and merchants’ settlements grew up around it. Edo was captured by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1590. Throughout the rule of the Tokugawa shoguns (1603–1867), Edo was their residence, although the city of Kyoto, the imperial residence, was considered the official capital of Japan until 1868. In the 18th century, Edo became one of the largest cities in the world, reaching a population of 1,368,000 in 1787. After the revolution of 1867–68 (seeMEUI RESTORATION), which overthrew the shogunate, the imperial residence was transferred to Edo (1869); the city was renamed Tokyo (“eastern capital”) and became the capital. The silk, lacquer, porcelain, and enamel industries developed in the second half of the 19th century, and machine building and shipbuilding began to develop in the late 19th century.

Trade unions were organized in Tokyo in 1897–98. In 1918, “rice riots” broke out under the influence of the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia. Communist circles and groups arose in Tokyo and other Japanese cities in the early 1920’s; in 1922 they merged to form the Communist Party of Japan (CPJ).

On Sept. 1, 1923, almost half of Tokyo was destroyed by an earthquake and the resulting fires; many people died in the catastrophe.

During World War II, Tokyo was repeatedly bombed by the US Air Force (1944–45), and a large part of the residential quarter was destroyed. In the postwar period Tokyo has become the most important center of the labor and democratic movement. In 1964 the XVIII Olympic Games were held in Tokyo.


Economy. The determining trend in Tokyo’s economic development is a reduction of the relative share of production functions in its economy and an increase in the role of administrative, trade and distribution, and scientific and informational functions. Tokyo is the site of the headquarters of the largest financial and industrial monopoly groups, such as Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, and Mitsui, and of some private monopolies and state and mixed monopoly organizations. Many of the country’s major banks, including the Bank of Japan, the Japan Development Bank, the Export and Import Bank of Japan, and the Central Bank of Japan, have their headquarters in Tokyo, and representatives of foreign monopolies have offices there. Most of the administrative institutions are located in Marunouchi, Otemachi, and Nihonbashi wards.

However, the capital prefecture of Tokyo remains one of the largest industrial regions of Japan; in 1973 it had more than 14 percent of the industrial enterprises and 12 percent of the economically active population. The structure of industry of Greater Tokyo is shown in Table 2.

Japan’s machine-building industry is mainly concentrated in Tokyo Prefecture. Machine building and metalworking specialize mainly in the manufacture of complex and precision machines and instruments, electrotechnical and electronics equipment and apparatus, optical instruments, motor vehicles, aircraft, and ships, railroad equipment and rolling stock, machine tools, and road machinery. Metallurgy is highly developed.

The chemical industry specializes in fine chemical engineering, including the manufacture of medicines, cosmetics, photochemicals, and paints, inks, and varnishes (particularly for the printing industry). Petroleum refining and petrochemistry, including the manufacture of chemical fibers and plastics, are also of major importance. The country’s largest printing industry is in Tokyo. The building materials industry is of importance. The diversified food industry, which relies mainly on imported raw materials, includes brewing, flour-milling, and fish-processing. The city has numerous branches of light industry, including the textile, clothing, leather, ceramics, and furniture industries and the manufacture of jewelry and souvenirs, which produce mainly for local consumption.

Most of the industrial enterprises are of small or medium size, with up to 300 employees; they account for more than one-half of the value of industrial output. Industrial enterprises are located mainly along the Ara River, in Kyoto, Jehoku, Jenan, Kita, and other wards. There is almost no new industrial construction in Tokyo proper, mainly because of high land prices and the need to undertake multifaceted measures to combat pollution. Every year about 3 percent of the industrial enterprises are shut down or moved to other districts of the capital prefecture or to neighboring prefectures. Tokyo’s industry relies on a strong electric power base; annual power consumption is about 25 billion kilowatt-hours (1970 data).

Tokyo is a major trade and distribution center. It is fourth in the country in foreign trade, behind Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagoya. The commodity and stock exchanges and representatives of more than 3,000 trading firms are located in Tokyo, which also has more than 250,000 national trading companies and wholesale and retail stores, employing 1.6 million people. The relative share of wholesale enterprises is great; they accounted for 34.8 percent of Japan’s wholesale transactions in 1972. The number of large department stores and self-service stores is growing. The commercial wards are Chiyoda, Chuo, and Minato. The network of other service establishments is also well developed; in 1970 there were about 75,000 restaurants and cafeterias, 10,000 bars and cabarets, 3,000 public baths, and 3,800 hotels, including several dozen European-type hotels. Tokyo is the largest center of tourism in Japan, with about 800,000 foreign tourists a year.

Tokyo is the country’s largest hub for transportation, including international sea and air communications. The seaport has ten piers, with a total length of 13 km. In 1974 the port had a freight turnover of 55.6 million tons, the seventh largest in Japan. Tokyo is connected by superhighways and railroad trunk lines with many Japanese cities; the Tokyo-Fukuoka express trunk line was put into operation in 1975. Haneda Airport, which is connected by monorail with the center of the city, serves more than 2.5 million passengers a year; a new airport has been built at Narita. Tokyo has a surface railroad system providing passenger service from the suburbs, a subway serving mainly the central quarters, and bus lines; highways pass through the city. All types of city transportation provide service to 20 million people a day; railroads account for about 75 percent of the passengers, and subways for 20 percent. There are about 800,000 trucks and 40,000 taxicabs in the city.

Tokyo is experiencing an acute transportation crisis. The use of all types of surface transportation in Tokyo proper is complicated not only by the increasing number of vehicles but also by the density of urban construction; among the world’s largest cities Tokyo has the smallest ratio of area of streets to the total area of the city. Parking lots, pedestrian walks, warehouses, and stores are being moved underground. The air is filled with gases and fumes, and the water of the rivers is polluted. Household waste amounts to 18,000 tons a day, about one-third of which is burned, and the rest is dumped into the shallow part of Tokyo Bay for landfill; more than 1,550 hectares of land were reclaimed between 1960 and 1970


Architecture and city planning. There are very few parks in Tokyo. The center of the city is marked by large stone, brick, and reinforced-concrete buildings, including skyscrapers; light wooden structures, mostly residential one-story houses, are found in large areas of the city. The residential quarters were rebuilt twice, after the 1923 earthquake and after World War II. The historic center of the city is Nihonbashi Ward, the location of the imperial palace, which is surrounded by a park. Construction of the palace, formerly the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns, was started in about 1600; the palace was rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Most of Tokyo’s public buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries are in the eclectic style. Examples are the Akasaka Palace (1909; architect O. Katayama) and the Diet (1915–36; architect T. Ohama). In the period 1910–20, however, there was a creative reinterpretation of local architectural traditions in the spirit of modern architecture, as exemplified by the Imperial Hotel (1916–22; architect F. L. Wright; razed in the 1960’s) and the central post office (1934; architects T. Yoshida and M. Yamada). The first stage in the modernization of Tokyo was begun in 1964, on the occasion of the Olympic Games; 22 highways and numerous elevated expressways were built in residential areas.

The 1960’s and 1970’s saw a rapid development of new urban centers, such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuru, and Tama, with intensive high-rise and underground construction. Plans for the reclamation and further development of Tokyo Bay (architects K. Tange and K. Kukutake) have been proposed to ensure free development of the functional zones of the city. However, large-scale urban planning efforts have not brought about any radical changes in the overall layout of the city, which is on the whole extremely disorderly. The most remarkable buildings of the mid-20th century include the Festival Hall in Ueno Park (1960–61; architect K. Maekawa), the Olympic sports complex (1963–64), which includes the Gymnasium and St. Mary’s Cathedral (both 1964; architect K. Tange), and the Tokyo Tower.


Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Tokyo has more than 80 state, municipal, and private higher educational institutions. Among them are Tokyo University, Tokyo Metropolitan University, universities of agriculture, pedagogy, fine arts, and music, a technological institute, and some of the country’s largest private universities, such as Waseda, Keio, Hosei, Nihon, and Meiji universities. Scientific institutions include the Japanese Academy of Science and the Japanese Academy of Art. The city has more than 100 research institutes, laboratories, and centers attached to universities and about 40 attached to government ministries and departments. Among them are the National Aerospace Laboratory, the National Cancer Center, the National Research Center for Protection Against Natural Calamities, and research

Table 2. Industry of the capital prefecture
 Number employed (1962)Value of output (1970)Share of total Japanese industrial output (percent)
 PersonsPercentBillion yenPercentNumber employed (1962)Value of output (1970)
Electrical engineering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .202,00015.41,21720.025.017.0
General machine building. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .151,00011.569211.017.511.0
Metal products. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .133,00010.03145.025.412.5
Transportation equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77,0006.14917.717.76.0
Precision machines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75,0006.02884.545.037.0
Chemicals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65,0005.04517.014.08.0
Printing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121,0009.288414.040.058.0
Food and condiments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75,0006.05098.09.09.0
Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,285,0001006,26810015.510.6

institutes of public health, hygiene, natural resources, and demography.

The largest libraries are the National Diet Library and the university libraries. The principal museums are the National Museum, the Okura Museum, the Nezu Art Museum, the Science Museum, the National Museum of Western Art, the National Museum of Modern Art, the Folkcraft Museum, and the Calligraphy Museum.

Tokyo has theaters in which the leading Japanese troupes perform; these troupes include the Kokuritsu Gekizo, Kabukiza, Teikoku Gekizo, Haiyu-za and Meiji-za Concert halls include the Ueno Bunka Kaikan, Nichigekiza (for variety shows), Kokusai Gekiza, Kokusai Kaikan, and Toyoku Horu. The hall of the All-Japanese Radio Broadcasting Corporation and the Waseda En-geki Hakubutsukan Theater Museum of Waseda University are located in Tokyo.


Nouët, N. Histoirede Tokyo. Paris, 1961.
The City of Tokyo: Municipal Administration and Government. Tokyo, 1931.
Tokyo for the People. Tokyo, 1972.
Suji de miru kogai. Tokyo, 1970.
Shutoken, Showa 60 nen. Tokyo, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of Japan, a port on SE Honshu on Tokyo Bay (an inlet of the Pacific): part of the largest conurbation in the world (the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area) of over 35 million people; major industrial centre and the chief cultural centre of Japan. Pop. (city proper): 8 025 538 (2002 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Tsushima proved another liminal area that had an ambiguous relationship with Edo. On the one hand, the So family facilitated the Korean embassies that were highly regarded affairs in Edo, but on the other, the authorities in Edo worried about the drain of precious metals that trade with Korea facilitated.
Here again there was a constant give and take between the authorities in Edo and the Matsumae family who controlled trade with Ezo through the privileges given them by the early Tokugawa shogun.