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The History of Minato City

Before using the "Prominent People of Minato City" you may find it easier to understand the database and Minato City by checking the history of the city.Below are some summaries of this history.
  • Edo Period
  • Zojyo-ji Temple and Temple Town
    The Zojyo-ji Temple received devotion from Ieyasu Tokugawa when he entered Edo Castle, and it became the Shogun's family temple. It was given large premises in Minato City and moved to its current location in the year Keicho 3 (1598). Later, several other temples were built in this area, and several were reestablished there from other areas, sometimes moving two or three times from one location to another within the large sector that now comprises Minato City. And in the year Kanei 12 (1635), many temples moved into the area that today consists of Mita, Akasaka, and Takanawa, thus forming a "Temple Town."
    The Place of Daimyo (feudal lords)
    According to records from the beginning of the 19th century, about half of the daimyo of that time had their residences in Minato City. Grouped regionally, they were mostly established in the Azabu and Roppongi areas. The next largest grouping was in Shimbashi and Toranomon. The Kamiyashiki (main resident facilities) were gathered in Shimbashi and Toranomon, near Edo Castle.
    Foreign Legations
    After the conclusion of the treaty called "Ansei Gokakoku Jyoyaku" in Ansei 5 (1858), at which time Japan opened its doors to the world, the first foreign legations were housed in Minato City, in the Zenpuku-ji Temple (United States); the Touzen-ji Temple (England); the Saikai-ji Temple (France); and the Chouou-ji Temple (The Netherlands). The Gaikokujin Setsugu-jyo (the lodging and reception facilities for foreigners) was established in Akabane. This background of the traditions and history of Minato City clarifies why many foreign embassies are now situated there.
  • Meiji Period - Before World War II
  • The time of 3 cities
    In the Meiji period, many town name changes and renamings resulting from consolidations between towns were frequently repeated in Minato City. A large-scale administrative district revision was made in Meiji 2 (1869) and Meiji 4 (1871), and many smaller changes were made after that. The three cities of Minato, Azabu, and Akasaka were founded in Meiji 11 (1878), when Tokyo-fu (a prefecture) was reorganized into 15 cities and 6 counties. These 3 cities were the predecessor of the current Minato City.
    First Railway Between Shimbashi and Yokohama
    In Meiji 5 (1872), the first railway in Japan went into operation between Shimbashi and Yokohama. People could travel between Shimbashi and Yokohama within an hour. The wave of Western civilization thus arrived by train from that port city, the entryway of ships from the Western world carrying the intercommunication of people.
    A Town of Military Forces
    After the middle of the Meiji period, Azabu, Akasaka, and Aoyama took on the characteristics of a town of military forces. Starting from a mutiny, known as the Takebashi incident, among the Imperial Guards, the barracks originally in front of the Imperial Palace in Marunouchi were relocated to Minato City. Many military facilities were gathered in these areas, such as the first division of foot solders, the infantry regiment of the household division, the Azabu regimental headquarters, the first division headquarters, and the Army War College.
    Great Tokyo Air Raids
    Near the end of World War II, the Minato City suffered an air raid every day, and the greater part of the city was destroyed by fire. Nearly 150,000 people were affected, and many historical buildings and cultural facilities were ravaged.
  • After the War
  • Foundation of Minato City
    After the war, the increasing momentum toward the democratization of the Japanese government, of public administration, and of economic systems had also spread to the metropolitan government, and the movement toward autonomy of the city grew aggressively. To enhance the foundation of self-government and to respond to postwar reconstruction, the city decided to reorganize its regions, and in Showa 22 (1947), the three cities of Shiba, Azabu, and Akasaka were merged as Minato City.
    After the war, many facilities of the Imperial Japanese Army were taken over by the U.S. forces. They were stationed in Minato City because of the many military-related facilities there. Consequently, a large commercial area with Western-style restaurants and fashion stores evolved in an area centered on Roppongi. With the existence of the many foreign embassies there, an international atmosphere quickly developed in the city and remains there today.
    High Economic Growth
    The high economic growth from about the year Showa 30 until Showa 40 (1955 through 1964) transformed the appearance of towns in Japan. Besides the extensive construction of expressways and the widening of arterial roads, high-rise office buildings and apartments were being constantly built, and Tokyo Tower became a symbol of postwar reconstruction. Combined with the establishment of TV stations, Akasaka, Aoyama, and Roppongi were reincarnated with international downtown streets lined with fashionable buildings side by side, one after another.
    A Rush to Redevelop
    Starting in Showa 60 until about Showa 69 (1985 - 1994), the tide of large-scale redevelopment needs extended throughout Minato City. The new urban development gathered many business and cultural functions, and the coastal areas were also developing into a new Tokyo waterfront subcenter.