A Short History of Tokyo

Jonathan Clements,

A Short History of Tokyo
 
 
Tokyo, which in Japanese means the “Eastern Capital,” has only enjoyed that name and status for 150 years. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the city that is now Tokyo was a sprawling fishing town by the bay named Edo. Earlier still, in the Middle Ages, it was Edojuku, an outpost overlooking farmlands. And thousands of years ago, its mudflats and marshes were home to elephants, deer, and marine life. 

In this compact history, Jonathan Clements traces Tokyo’s fascinating story from the first forest clearances and the samurai wars to the hedonistic “floating world” of the last years of the Shogunate. He illuminates the Tokyo of the twentieth century with its destruction and redevelopment, boom and bust without forgoing the thousand years of history that have led to the Eastern Capital as we know it. Tokyo is so entwined with the history of Japan that it can be hard to separate them, and A Short History of Tokyo tells both the story of the city itself and offers insight into Tokyo’s position at the nexus of power and people that has made the city crucial to the events of the whole country.
 


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