The area of present day Akishima was part of ancient Musashi Province, and a center for silkworm production. The in post-Meiji Restoration cadastral reform of July 22, 1878, the area became part of Kitatama District in Kanagawa Prefecture. Haiji, Nakagami and Sotoyatsu villages were created on April 1, 1889 with the establishment of municipalities law. The entire district was transferred to the control of Tokyo Metropolis on April 1, 1893. The latter two villages merged on January 1, 1928 to form Shōwa Village.
Shōwa was elevated to town status on January 1, 1941 and through merger with the village of Haiji on May 1, 1954, became the city of Akishima. The name comes from the kun'yomi of the first kanji in the name of the former town of Shōwa, and the on'yomi of the second kanji in the name of the former village of Haijima