Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Yokohama was a small fishing village up to the end of the Edo period, a time when Japan did not trade with seafaring nations. In 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry arrived just south of Yokohama with a fleet of American warships, and forced Japan to open several ports for commerce. Yokohama was designated as a foreign port instead of Kanagawa, which the Tokugawa shogunate feared was too close to the Tokaido, a strategic highway connecting Edo to Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka.
The Port of Yokohama was opened in 1859 and quickly became the base of most foreign trade in Japan. Foreigners occupied a district of the city called 'Kannai' ("inside the barrier"), which was surrounded by a 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-ku, Yokohama in 1862. Ernest Satow wrote about the incident in his A Diplomat in Japan.
After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the port was developed for trading silk. Japan's first railway was constructed in 1872 to connect Yokohama to Tokyo, allowing zaibatsu firms to use the port for importing raw materials bound for factories in the growing Keihin Industrial Area . The growth of Japanese industry brought affluence to Yokohama, and many wealthy trading families constructed sprawling residences there. Until more commerce was carried out directly in Tokyo, Yokohama was known as the most international city in Japan.
Much of Yokohama was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake, and the city was firebombed by U.S. aircraft during World War II. 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 to an American base at Yokosuka.
Yokohama is located on a peninsula facing the western side of Tokyo Bay, 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Tokyo, to which it is connected by a half-dozen railway lines as well as expressways and surface streets. Although the city is largely a bedroom community for people commuting to Tokyo, it also has a strong local economic base, especially in the shipping, biotechnology, and semiconductor industries. Nissan will move its headquarters to Yokohama from Chuo-ku, Tokyo, by 2010.
Sightseeing spots in Yokohama include the port area (Yamashita Park, Minato Mirai 21, and Chinatown), the Yamate area (foreigners' cemetery and harbour view park), and Sankeien Garden. The Isezakicho and Noge areas offer many colourful shops and bars and, with their restaurants and stores catering to residents from China, Thailand, South Korea, and other countries, have an increasingly international flavour. The ramen museum and the curry museum are other interesting spots recently opened in Yokohama.
Yokohama is the home of the Yokohama Baystars , a Central League baseball team, and the Yokohama F Marinos, a J. League soccer team. The final game of the 2002 World Cup was played in Yokohama International Sports Stadium.
Yokohama has 18 wards (ku):
- Aoba-ku (青葉区)
- Asahi-ku (旭区)
- Hodogaya-ku (保土ヶ谷区)
- Isogo-ku (磯子区)
- Izumi-ku (泉区)
- Kanagawa-ku (神奈川区)
- Kanazawa-ku (金沢区)
- Kohoku-ku (港北区)
- Konan-ku (港南区)
- Midori-ku (緑区)
- Minami-ku (南区)
- Naka-ku (中区)
- Nishi-ku (西区)
- Sakae-ku (栄区)
- Seya-ku (瀬谷区)
- Totsuka-ku (戸塚区)
- Tsurumi-ku (鶴見区)
- Tsuzuki-ku (都筑区)
Yokohama in fiction
In Shadow Hearts 2, one of the towns/cities you visit is circa 1915 Yokohama.
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|Regions of Japan|
|Hokkaido | Tohoku | Kanto | Chubu (Hokuriku - Koshinetsu - Tokai) | Kansai | Chugoku | Shikoku | Kyushu|
|23 wards of Tokyo | Chiba | Fukuoka | Hiroshima | Kawasaki | Kitakyushu | Kobe | Kyoto | Nagoya | Osaka | Saitama | Sapporo | Sendai | Yokohama|
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