Tokyo, the City of the Metamorphosis, Die Verwandlung

公開日: : 最終更新日:2014/03/07 About Tokyo, English , , , , , , , , ,

Tokyo is the capital of Japan, where people and many important organizations gather. The population of Tokyo is about 13,300,000, which means 10% of Japanese are living in Tokyo. Japan has 378.000 square kilometers of area in total and Tokyo occupies only 0.6 % (2,200 square kilometers)…


Tokyo Metropolitan area at night Photo by Shin

Tokyo Metropolitan view at night from Tokyo Tower
Photo by Shin


On the other hand, the prefecture which population is the smallest in Japan is Shimane Prefecture with 577,642, which is one-23rd of Tokyo.

As a fact, the population density of Tokyo is so high; 6,070 people in one square kilometer. Of course, Tokyo is the highest in Japan, while the lowest is that of Hokkaido with 69 people in 1 square kilometer.
(The above numbers are from the statistics of 2013)


This is a very interesting map of Tokyo created by Shohei, who is researching in Michigan University.




I, personally, am not so happy with this high density of people in Tokyo, those living in Tokyo imagining to themselves that Tokyo is the worst city in the world regarding the population density. So I looked for the data of population statistics of the world.

Here is the data I’ve found:

1st. Mumbai, India 29,650
2nd. Calcutta, India 23,900
3rd. Karachi, Pakistan 18,900
4th. Lagos, Nigeria 18,150
5th. Shenzhen, China 17,150
6th. Seoul, Korea 16,700
7th. Taipei, Taiwan 15,200
8th. Chennai, India 14,350
9th. Bogotá, Colombia 13,500
10th. Shanghai, China 13,400
(data from “Forbes” January 2013)


Hmmm… As you see, the fact was beyond my imagination. I could not even find Tokyo in the ranking of Top 20. So we should not complain about the congestion in Tokyo…


Tokyo is a very exciting city where you find great many kinds of things and you cannot feel any inconvenience here (with an exception of language…). However, Tokyo has been the capital for only 400 years. As I wrote in the second last article, “What was Edo like before Edo Period?“, before Edo period, Tokyo was a wetland and there was quite nothing.

Edo was occupied by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1590 after the battle against Hojo clan and he brought 8000 soldiers with himself to Edo when he reentered the castle as a ruler of the area. To tell you just a little of my personal information, I heard that my maternal ancestors came to Edo in those days from Nagoya.

Before Tokugawa came to Edo, Edo was just a morass part of rural Musashi Province and it is said that there were only around 100 houses near Edo castle and 65 temples in current Chiyoda-ku and 15 temples in current Chuo-ku. This data does not seem so reliable, but we can at least imagine that Edo was a very quiet place before Edo period.



Map of Musashi from wikipedia


In the beginning of Edo period, around 1609, the population of Edo was about 150,000 and in the begining of 18 century there were more than 1 million people. So Edo was developed dramatically by Tokugawa Shogunate and it became one of the most populous cities in the world for only one hundred years.


Ueno Hirokoji in Edo period by Hiroshige


Tokyo is indeed an incomparable city.  It has been transformed dramatically in a short period of time.

The first change was in 17th century in Edo period. The second one was the westernization in late 19th century in Meiji period. The third one was in the mid 20 century during and after the World War II. And the forth change was “skyscrapernization” in the late 20 century.  I have no idea if there are any other cities in the world which have undergone so many changes as Tokyo.  I think that this is because there was almost nobody living in Edo before 400 years ago.  I mean there were only few native Edo people who loved their hometown and people who came from other areas constructed Edo/Tokyo for their own convenience. Otherwise there should have been some pro-environment groups who stood up with slogans such as “NO MORE CONSTRUCTION IN EDO” or “WE WANT THE PEACE OF EDO BACK!” LOL.
にほんブログ村 歴史ブログ 日本の伝統・文化へ
にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 英語の日記(和英併記)へ




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