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Yokohama (横浜市 Yokohama-shi ) ( listen (help·info)) is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshū. It is a major commercial hub of the Greater Tokyo Area.
Yokohama developed rapidly as Japan's prominent port city following the end of Japan's relative isolation in the mid-19th century, and is today one of its major ports along with Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Hakata, Tokyo, and Chiba.
Yokohama was a small fishing village up to the end of the feudal Edo period, when Japan held a policy of national seclusion, having little contact with foreigners. A major turning point in Japanese history happened in 1853–54, when Commodore Matthew Perry arrived just south of Yokohama with a fleet of American warships, demanding that Japan open several ports for commerce, and the Tokugawa shogunate agreed by signing the Treaty of Peace and Amity.
It was initially agreed that one of the ports to be opened to foreign ships would be the bustling town of Kanagawa-juku (in what is now Kanagawa Ward) on the Tōkaidō, a strategic highway that linked Edo to Kyoto and Osaka. However, the Tokugawa shogunate decided that Kanagawa-juku was too close to the Tōkaidō for comfort, and port facilities were instead built across the inlet in the sleepy fishing village of Yokohama. The Port of Yokohama was opened on 2 June 1859.
Yokohama quickly became the base of foreign trade in Japan. Japan's first English language newspaper, the Japan Herald, was first published there in 1861. Foreigners occupied a district of the city called "Kannai" (関内, "inside the barrier"), which was surrounded by a moat, and were protected by their extraterritorial status both within and outside the moat. Many individuals crossed the moat, causing a number of problems. The Namamugi Incident, one of the events that preceded the downfall of the shogunate, took place in what is now Tsurumi Ward in 1862; Ernest Satow described it in A Diplomat in Japan.
After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the port was developed for trading silk, the main trading partner being Great Britain. Many Western influences first reached Japan in Yokohama, including Japan's first daily newspaper (1870) and first gas-powered street lamps (1872). Japan's first railway was constructed in the same year to connect Yokohama to Shinagawa and Shinbashi in Tokyo. In the same year, Jules Verne set Yokohama, which he had never visited, in an episode of his widely-read Around the World in Eighty Days, capturing the atmosphere of a fast-developing, Western-oriented Japanese city.
In 1887, a British merchant, Samuel Cocking, built the city's first power plant. At first for his own use, this coal-burning plant became the basis for the Yokohama Cooperative Electric Light Company. The city was officially incorporated on 1 April 1889. By the time the extraterritoriality of foreigner areas was abolished in 1899, Yokohama was the most international city in Japan, with foreigner areas stretching from Kannai to the Bluff area and the large Yokohama Chinatown.
The early 20th century was marked by rapid growth of industry. Entrepreneurs built factories along reclaimed land to the north of the city toward Kawasaki, which eventually grew to be the Keihin Industrial Area. The growth of Japanese industry brought affluence, and many wealthy trading families constructed sprawling residences there, while the rapid influx of population from Japan and Korea also led to the formation of Kojiki-Yato, then the largest slum in Japan.
Much of Yokohama was destroyed on 1 September 1923 by the Great Kantō earthquake. The Yokohama police reported casualties at 30,771 dead and 47,908 injured, out of a pre-earthquake population of 434,170. Fuelled by rumours of rebellion and sabotage, vigilante mobs thereupon murdered many Koreans in the Kojiki-yato slum. Many people believed that Koreans used black magic to cause the earthquake. Martial law was in place until 19 November. Rubble from the quake was used to reclaim land for parks, the most famous being the Yamashita Park on the waterfront which opened in 1930.
Yokohama was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by thirty-odd U.S. air raids during World War II. An estimated seven or eight thousand people were killed in a single morning on 29 May 1945 in what is now known as the Great Yokohama Air Raid, when B-29s firebombed the city and in just one hour and nine minutes reduced 42% of it to rubble.
During the American occupation, Yokohama was a major transshipment base for American supplies and personnel, especially during the Korean War. After the occupation, most local U.S. naval activity moved from Yokohama to an American base in nearby Yokosuka.
The city was designated by government ordinance on September 1, 1956.
Construction of Minato Mirai 21 ("Port Future 21"), a major urban development project on reclaimed land, started in 1983. Minato Mirai 21 hosted the Yokohama Exotic Showcase in 1989, which saw the first public operation of maglev trains in Japan and the opening of Cosmo Clock 21, then the largest Ferris wheel in the world. The 860m-long Yokohama Bay Bridge opened in the same year.
In 1993, Minato Mirai saw the opening of the Yokohama Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan.
In 2009, the city will mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the port and the 120th anniversary of the commencement of the City Administration. An early part in the commemoration project incorporates the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) which was held in Yokohama in May 2008.
|Population||Rank among cities in Japan|
|1920||422,942||6th, behind Kobe, Kyoto,|
Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo
|1940||968,091||5th, surpassing Kobe|
|1945||814,379||4th, the city government of Tokyo|
having been disbanded in 1943
|1960||1,375,710||3rd, surpassing Kyoto|
|1970||2,238,264||2nd, surpassing Nagoya|
|1980||2,773,674||1st, surpassing Osaka|
Yokohama is centrally located on Honshū just southwest of Tokyo. There are four distinct seasons. Winters temperatures rarely drop below freezing, while summer can get quite warm due to humidity effects. Rain is frequent with significant rainfall occurring during both the East Asian rainy season and the typhoon season. Snowfall is limited to thirteen days a year.
|Weather data for Yokohama, Japan (1971-2000)|
|Average high °C (°F)||9.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||5.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||1.8|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||55.5|
|Snowfall cm (inches)||5|
|Source:  2010-01-11|
|This section requires expansion.|
Yokohama is serviced by the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, a high-speed rail line with a stop at Shin-Yokohama Station. Yokohama Station is also a major station, with two million passengers daily. The Yokohama Municipal Subway provides metro services.
|This section requires expansion.|
Places of interest
The historic port area is Kannai. Next to the waterfront Yamashita Park is Yokohama Marine Tower, the tallest inland lighthouse in the world. Further inland lies Yokohama Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in Japan and one of the largest in the world. Nearby is Yokohama Stadium, the Silk Center, and the Yokohama Doll Museum. The Isezakichō and Noge areas offer many colourful shops and bars that, with their restaurants and stores catering to residents from China, Thailand, South Korea, and other countries, have an increasingly international flavour.
The small but fashionable Motomachi shopping area leads up to Yamate, or "The Bluff" as it used to be known, a 19th/early 20th century Westerners' settlement overlooking the harbour, scattered with foreigners' mansions. A foreigners' cemetery and the Harbour View Park (港の見える丘公園, Minato no mieru oka kōen) is in the area. Within the park are a rose garden and the Kanagawa Museum of Modern Literature (神奈川近代文学館, Kanagawa kindai bungakkan).
There are various points of interest in the futuristic Minato Mirai 21 harbourside redevelopment. The highlights are the Landmark Tower which is the tallest building in Japan, Queen's Square Yokohama (a shopping mall) and the Cosmo Clock 21, which was the largest Ferris wheel in the world when it was built in 1989 and which also doubles as "the world's biggest clock".
The Shin-Yokohama district, where the Shinkansen station is located, is some distance away from the harbour area, and features the 17,000 capacity Yokohama Arena, the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, and Nissan Stadium, known as the International Stadium Yokohama when it was the setting for the final for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Sankei-en is a traditional Japanese-style garden in Naka Ward. Designed and built by businessman Tomitaro Hara, it contains seventeen old buildings bought by Hara himself all over Japan, ten of which have been declared Important National Cultural Property.
Politics and government
The Yokohama Municipal Assembly consists of 92 members elected from 18 Wards. The LDP has minority control with 30 seats with Democratic Party of Japan with a close 29. The mayor is Fumiko Hayashi, who succeeded Hiroshi Nakada in September 2009.
Yokohama has 18 wards (ku):
Twin towns — Sister cities
Yokohama has sister-city relationships with these eight cities worldwide:
Public elementary and middle schools are operated by the city of Yokohama. There are nine public high schools which are operated by the Yokohama City Board of Education, and a number of public high schools which are operated by the Kanagawa Prefectural Board of Education.
Yokohama in fiction
- Two successful Godzilla films feature Yokohama: Godzilla vs. Mothra and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
- James Clavell's book Gai-Jin main setting is in historical Yokohama.
- ^ Yokohama official web side (English)
- ^ Tokyo is no longer a single incorporated city. See Tokyo for more information on the definition and makeup of Tokyo.
- ^ Yokohama statistical handbook (Japanese) (<abbr title="Caution: Machine translations may be inaccurate">Translate</abbr>: Google, Babelfish), retrieved February 7, 2009
- ^ "Things to do in the city of Yokohama". Learnjapaneselanguage.co.uk. 2007-05-12. http://www.learnjapaneselanguage.co.uk/articles/15/things-to-do-in-the-city-of-yokohama.php. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- ^ Official Yokohama city website
- ^ a b Interesting Tidbits of Yokohama[History of Yokohama] Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau Retrieved on February 7, 2009
- ^ Hammer, Joshua. (2006). Yokohama Burning: The Deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire that Helped Forge the Path to World War II, p. 143.
- ^ Hammer, pp. 149-170.
- ^ Osaka was once more populous than Yokohama is today.
- ^ "Yokohama Weather, When to Go and Yokohama Climate Information". world-guides.com. http://www.yokohama.world-guides.com/yokohama_weather.html. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
- ^ "Yokohama (Translated from Japanese Wiki)". ja.wikipedia.org. http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%A8%AA%E6%B5%9C%E5%B8%82. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
- ^ "過去の気象データ検索: 平年値（年・月ごとの値） ("Historical Climate data for Yokohama")". Japan Meteorological Agency. http://www.data.jma.go.jp/obd/stats/etrn/view/nml_sfc_ym.php?prec_no=46&prec_ch=%90_%93%DE%90%EC%8C%A7&block_no=47670&block_ch=%89%A1%95l&year=2010&month=&day=&elm=normal&view=.
- ^ "Nissan To Create New Global and Domestic Headquarters in Yokohama City by 2010". Japancorp.net. http://www.japancorp.net/Article.Asp?Art_ID=7647. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- ^ Sabin, Burritt (2002-03-17), "Yokohoma vs. Kobe: bright lights, big beacons", The Japan Times, http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20020317a6.html, retrieved 2008-01-29
- ^ Official Yokohama city website (English)
- ^ a b Yokohama Sankei Garden, Sankei-en's official site accessed on November 3, 2009 (in Japanese)
- ^ "Eight Cities/Six Ports: Yokohama's Sister Cities/Sister Ports". Yokohama Convention & Visitiors Bureau. http://www.welcome.city.yokohama.jp/eng/tourism/mame/a3000.html. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
- ^ "Partner Cities of Lyon and Greater Lyon". © 2008 Mairie de Lyon. http://www.lyon.fr/vdl/sections/en/villes_partenaires/villes_partenaires_2/?aIndex=1. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- ^ "Vancouver Twinning Relationships" (PDF). City of Vancouver. http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20080311/documents/a14.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
- ^ Official Yokohama city website
- Hammer, Joshua. (2006). Yokohama Burning: The Deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire that Helped Forge the Path to World War II. New York: Simon & Schuster. 10-ISBN 0-743-26465-7; 13-ISBN 978-0-743-26465-5 (cloth)
- Heilbrun, Jacob. "Aftershocks," New York Times. September 17, 2006.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Yokohama|
- Official website (English)
- Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau (English)
- Wikitravel: Yokohama
- At the Future PortYokohama’s Minato Mirai 21 is an ultra-modern port… a far cry from its origins as a small fishing village, a travel report by Vinod Jacob 06 Jul 2007
- Yokohama guide in Pictures ( Minato Mirai, Chinatown, Yamashita park, Sakuragicho, Stadium, Cosmo World )
- National Archives of Japan, Digital Gallery: Marine survey chart: Yokohama harbor, published 1874