Capital of Japan

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This article is about the Japanese national capital in general. For the current capital, see Tokyo.

The capital of Japan is Tokyo.[1] In the course of history, the national capital has been in many locations other than Tokyo.

History[change | change source]

Traditionally, the home of the Emperor was considered the capital. From 794 through 1868, the Emperor lived in Kyoto.[2] After 1868, the seat of the Government of Japan and the location of the Emperor's home was Tokyo.[1]

In 1941, the Ministry of Education published the "designation of Tokyo as capital" (東京奠都 Tōkyō-tento?).[3]

After World War II, the new Constitution of Japan transferred the state's sovereignty from the Emperor to the people. The people of Japan are represented by the Diet of Japan in Tokyo. Consensus considers the site of the Diet is the capital of Japan.

Capital area[change | change source]

No law makes Tokyo as the Japanese capital. However, many laws have defined a "capital area" (首都圏 shutoken?) which incorporates Tokyo.[4]

Article 2 of the Capital Area Consolidation Law (首都圏整備法?) of 1956 states that

"In this Act, the term 'capital area' shall denote a broad region comprising both the territory of Tokyo Metropolis as well as outlying regions designated by cabinet order."[5]

Laws which identify this "capital area" include the Capital Expressway Public Corporation Law (首都高速道路公団法?) and the Capital Area Greenbelt Preservation Law (首都圏近郊緑地保全法?).[6]

List of capitals[change | change source]

Legendary[change | change source]

This list of legendary capitals of Japan begins with the reign of Emperor Jimmu. The names of the Imperial palaces are in parentheses.

  1. Kashiwabara, Yamato at the foot of Mt. Unebi during reign of Emperor Jimmu[7]
  2. Kazuraki, Yamato during reign of Emperor Suizei[8]
  3. Katashiha, Kawachi during the reign of Emperor Annei[8]
  4. Karu, Yamato during reign of Emperor Itoku.[9]
  5. Waki-no-kami, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Kosho[10]
  6. Muro, Yamato during reign of Emperor Koan[10]
  7. Kuruda, Yamato during the reign of Emperor Korei[10]
  8. Karu, Yamato during reign of Emperor Kōgen[10]
  9. Izakaha, Yamato during reign of Emperor Kaika[10]
  10. Shika, Yamato (Palace of Mizugaki) during reign of Emperor Sujin[11]
  11. Shika, Yamato (Palace of Tamagaki) during reign of Emperor Suinin[12]
  12. Makimuko, Yamato (Palace of Hishiro) during reign of Emperor Keiko[13]
  13. Shiga, Ōmi (Palace of Takaanaho) during reign of Emperor Seimu[14]
  14. Ando (Palace of Toyoura) and Kashiki on the island of Kyushu during reign of Emperor Chūai[14]

Historical[change | change source]

This list of capitals includes the Imperial palaces names in parentheses.

Kofun period
Asuka period
Nara period
Heian period

References[change | change source]

The chrysanthemum symbol of the Japanese emperor and his family.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Tokyo," Japan Encyclopedia, pp. 981-982.
  2. Nussbaum, "Kyōto" at pp. 585-587.
  3. 国会等の移転ホームページ – 国土交通省. Mlit.go.jp. Retrieved on 2011-04-29.
  4. The term shuto came into use during the 1860s as a gloss of the Western concept of "capital". This term for capital was not used to refer to Kyoto.
  5. 首都圏整備法. Law.e-gov.go.jp. Retrieved on 2011-04-29.
  6. 首都圏近郊緑地保全法. Law.e-gov.go.jp. Retrieved on 2011-04-29.
  7. Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1915). The Imperial Family of Japan, p. 1.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 2.
  9. Ponsonby-Fane, pp. 2-3.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 3.
  11. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 4.
  12. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 5.
  13. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 6.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 7.
  15. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 8.
  16. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 9.
  17. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 10.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 11.
  19. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 12.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8 20.9 Koch, W. (1904). Japan; Geschichte nach japanischen Quellen und ethnographische Skizzen. Mit einem Stammbaum des Kaisers von Japan, p. 13.
  21. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 13.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 14; excerpt, "Mikaguri Palace"
  23. Nussbaum, "Asuka" at p. 59.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 15.
  25. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 16.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 17; except, "Palace of Kanahashi at Magari, Yamato"
  27. Brown, Delmer. (1979). Gukanshō, pp. 262-263; excerpt, "... palace was Osada no Miya of Iware in the province of Yamato."
  28. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 18.
  29. Brown, p. 263; excerpt, "... palace was Namitsuki no Miya at Ikebe in the province of Yamato."
  30. 30.0 30.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 19.
  31. 31.00 31.01 31.02 31.03 31.04 31.05 31.06 31.07 31.08 31.09 31.10 31.11 Asuka Historical Museum, Palaces of the Asuka Period," 1995; retrieved 2011-11-25.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 20.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 21.
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 なにわ活性化プロジェクト (Naniwa Revialization Project), August 24, 201; retrieved 2011-11-24.
  35. 35.0 35.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 23.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 24.
  37. Nussbaum, "Ōtsu mo Miya" at p. 216.
  38. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 25.
  39. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 26.
  40. 40.0 40.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 27.
  41. Nussbaum, "Fujiwara" at pp. 200-201.
  42. 42.0 42.1 Nussbaum, "Heijō-kyō" at p. 304.
  43. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 28.
  44. 44.0 44.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 29.
  45. Nussbaum, "Kuni-kyō" at p. 574.
  46. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 30.
  47. Nussbaum, "Nagaoka-kyō" at p. 216-217.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Ponsonby-Fane, p. 34.
  49. 49.0 49.1 Nussbaum, "Heian-kyō" at pp. 303-304.
  50. Nussbaum, "Fukuhara" at pp. 216.
  51. Ponsonby-Fane, p. 37.

More reading[change | change source]

  • Fiévé, Nicolas and Paul Waley. (2003). Japanese Capitals in Historical Perspective: Place, Power and Memory in Kyoto, Edo and Tokyo. New York: Psychology Press. 10-ISBN 070071409X/13-ISBN 9780700714094

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Capital of Japan at Wikimedia Commons