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.
According to PHYSICSCAT, Tokyo experienced the so-called “economic miracle” during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1947 Tokyo was restructured with the reduction from 35 to 23 neighborhoods. In 1954 the second subway line was created with the Marunouchi Line and in 1961 with the Hibiya Line. In 1958 the Tokyo Tower was built and in 1964 the first Shinkansen line (Tōkaidō Shinkansen) was inaugurated, coinciding with the celebration of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.. This prosperity transformed a war-torn country into the world’s second largest economy in less than 20 years. During this period, the Japanese government prioritized infrastructure and manufacturing industries. As a result, Japan dominated a wide range of industries such as steel, automotive, semiconductor, and household appliances.
In the following years Tokyo grew in extension; The Ogasawara Islands were returned to Japan in 1968 and the Tachikawa Air Base in 1977. During the 1970s there was a massive migration to cities, and especially to Tokyo. In 1978 the Narita International Airport, which provided support for Tokyo International Airport, which serve mainly domestic flights was inaugurated. The large population in Tokyo (which became the most populous city in the world in 1965) led to an economic bubble that started in 1986 and exploded in 1990, causing a recession throughout that decade, also called the lost decade (10 ushinawareta jūnen).
The 20 of March of 1995 the city concentrated the attention of the international media after the terrorist attack of the Aum Shinrikyo cult in the subway system in Tokyo. In it, twelve people died and thousands were affected by the nerve gas Sarin.
Despite that, Tokyo continued to grow; in 1991 the Tōchō or Tokyo Metropolitan Governorate Building was built and in 1993 the Rainbow Bridge over Tokyo Bay was inaugurated. This led to Tokyo being one of the most dynamic cities on the planet with a wide range of social and economic activities, coupled with the investment boom at the end of the 20th century, probably the largest in history. As a result, the city has more modern buildings than London or New York.. Projects have also been carried out in Tokyo to reclaim land from the sea. Although this practice has been carried out for several centuries, today it is carried out on a large scale; Odaiba stands out among these areas. Other recent urban projects include the Ebisu Garden, Tennozu Island, the Shiodome, Roppongi Hills, and Shinagawa.