Tokyo City (東京市 Tōkyō-shi?) was a municipality in Japan and part of Tokyo-fu which existed from May 1, 1889 until its merger with its prefecture on July 1, 1943. The historical boundaries of Tokyo City are now occupied by the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo. The new merged government became what is now Tokyo, also known as the Tokyo Metropolis, or, ambiguously, Tokyo Prefecture.
In 1868, the medieval city of Edo, seat of the Tokugawa government, was renamed Tokyo, and the offices of Tokyo Prefecture (-fu) were opened. The extent of Tokyo Prefecture was initially limited to the former Edo city, but rapidly augmented to be comparable with the present Tokyo Metropolis. In 1878, the Meiji government's reorganization of local governments subdivided prefectures into counties or districts (gun, further subdivided into towns and villages, later reorganized similar to Prussian districts) and districts or wards (ku) which were in ordinary prefectures cities as a whole, e.g. today's Hiroshima City (-shi) was then Hiroshima-ku; the three major cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto were each subdivided into several such wards. In Tokyo Prefecture, this created 15 wards (listed below) and six counties/districts.
In 1888, the central government created the legal framework for the current system of cities (shi) that granted some basic local autonomy rights – with some similarities to Prussia's system of local self-government as Meiji government advisor Albert Mosse heavily influenced the organization of local government. But under a special imperial regulation, Tokyo City, like Kyoto City and Osaka City, initially did not maintain a separate mayor; instead, the (appointed) governor of Tokyo Prefecture served as mayor of Tokyo City. The Tokyo city council/assembly (Tōkyō-shikai) was first elected in May 1889. Each ward also retained its own assembly. City and prefectural government were separated in 1898., and the government began to appoint a separate mayor of Tokyo City in 1898, but retained ward-level legislation, which continues to this day in the special ward system. From 1926, the mayor was elected by the elected city council/assembly from its own ranks. The city hall of Tokyo was located in the Yūrakuchō district, on a site now occupied by the Tokyo International Forum.
Tokyo became the second-largest city in the world (population 4.9 million) upon absorbing several outlying districts in July 1932, giving the city a total of 35 wards.
In 1943, the city was abolished and merged with Tokyo Prefecture to form the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which was functionally a part of the central government of Japan: the governor of Tokyo became a Cabinet minister reporting directly to the Prime Minister. This system remained in place until 1947 when the current structure of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was formed.
|Tōkyō-fu ("Tokyo Prefecture")|
|Tōkyō-shi ("Tokyo City")||Other cities (shi)||towns (machi) and villages (mura)
(until 1920s subordinate to counties/districts)
(island municipalities subordinate to subprefectures)
- 東京都年表, Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
- The 郡区町村編制法, gun-ku-chō-son hensei-hō, (ja) of 1878, the law on the organization of gun (counties/districts), ku (cities/districts/wards), towns and villages, one of the "three new laws" on local government of 1878 that also created prefectural taxation rights and prefectural assemblies (地方三新法, chihō san-shinpō, (ja))
- 東京のあゆみ, p. 225, Tokyo Metropolitan Government
- 市制, shi-sei (ja), the municipal code for cities of 1888. In the same year, the municipal code for towns on villages, the 町村制, chō-son-sei (ja), was created. The county governments were reorganzed in 1890 by the 郡制, gun-sei (ja)
- Akio Kamiko, Implementation of the City Law and the Town and Village Law (1881 – 1908). Historical Development of Japanese Local Governance Vol. 2 (Note on translations: This work and others consistently use the translation "assembly" for the elected prefectural and municipal assemblies (today generally [shi/to/etc.]-gikai, but in the Empire sometimes only [shi/fu/etc.]-kai), and "council" for the partially or completely unelected prefectural, county and municipal sanjikai (参事会). But other works follow modern usage and translate the elected body of shikai (as it is still named in some major cities) as city "council", and use other translations such as "advisory council" for the sanjikai.)
- 市制特例, shisei-tokurei (ja) of 1889
- Map of Tokyo City, 1913
- Steiner, Kurt. (1965). Local Government in Japan