| According to documents, Yokohama dates back
to the 11th century. The Kanmu Heishi family is said to be
from Yokohama. Yokohama was ruled by the descendants of Yoshibumi
Taira, and this rule continued up to the 16th century.
In the 12th century, the Kamakura period, Yokohama was developing,
and Shomyoji Temple and Kanazawa Bunko were built in Kanazawa
by Hojo. At the same time, in Kozukue, rice cultivation had
been established by Yasutsuna Sasaki.
After this, during the Edo period, most of Yokohama came
under the direct control of the feudal government except for
the Mutsuura Clan in Kanazawa which came under the control
of a feudal lord.
In 1601Kanagawa and Hodogaya, and in 1604 Totsuka became
post stations on the Tokaido Route. In the early 19th century
as the population increased Kanagawa became as important as
a town as Odawara (a castle town).
| In 1854(Ansei 1), the Japan-US Treaty of
Peace and Amity (Treaty of Kanagawa) was signed by representatives,
Mr. Hayashi Daigaku and Mr. Commodore Perry from Japan and
the USA respectively. In 1858(Ansei 5), Japan-US Treaty of
Amity and Commerce was signed by Consul-General Harris, followed
by treaties with Holland, Russia, Great Britain, and France.
The opening of the port was planned for July 1st, 1859 (June
2nd in the year Ansei 6 in the lunar calendar).
The feudal government established a foreign resident zone
in this year as well as a Japanese resident zone. The Japanese
zone was divided into five districts called Yokohama-cho which
was controlled by a senior statesman of the Shogunate Government
(sotoshiyori) and each district was controlled by a local
| On April 1st, 1889, the Municipal Government
was established. The areas under control were limited to a
small area in present day Naka-ku except for Honmoku and Negishi,
but the population had already reached 121,985 and the number
of houses was 27,209 (as of 1889).
| After the port was opened, raw silk, tea
and sea products were exported from Yokohama and silk and
wool products were imported. Merchants in Yokohama established
a silk trading company in 1873 and in 1881 a silk holding
house was set up, so taking the initiative to expand the silk
trade. At the start of the Meiji 20's, 1887, a prefectural
water service was introduced, and the first light in Yokohama
was lit by the Yokohama Public Electric Company in 1890. In
1891, Juzen Hospital and in the following year, the gas company
and newspaper publishing company came under municipal management,
thus establishing Yokohama's basic infrastructure.
| The Great Kanto Earthquake on September
1st, 1923 totally devastated Yokohama, turning Yokohama into
a sea of flames. The earthquake left 20,000 dead and, 60,000
houses destroyed, bringing Yokohama to its knees. However,
due to the resilience and strenuous efforts of its citizens,
Yokohama had almost completely recovered by 1929 (Showa 4).
| The first two expansions of municipal government
control took place in 1901(Meiji 34) and 1902(Meiji 44), and
the third in 1927 (Showa 2), taking in Tsurumi and Hodogaya-cho
etc. In October of the same year, the ward system was introduced,
and Yokohama was divided into five wards; Naka-ku, Isogo-ku,
Kanagawa-ku, Hodogaya-ku, and Tsurumi-ku. In 1936 (Showa 11),
the fourth expansion took place, the 5th the following year.
In 1939 (Showa 14), the 6th expansion took place which included
Kohoku and Totsuka. After further expansion, an extra three
wards; Minami, Nishi and Kanazawa were included, making a
total of 10 wards. In 1969 (Showa 44), Konan, Asahi, Midori,
and Seya were included, making a total of 14 wards, and in
1985 (Showa 61), Sakae and Izumi were added, bringing it to
16 wards. Finally in November, 1994 (Heisei 6), Aoba-ku and
Tsuzuki-ku were made, bringing it to a total of 18 wards at
| The estuary of the River Tsurumi was reclaimed
in 1931(Showa 6), and thereafter part of the coast line was
reclaimed and turned into the Keihin Industrial Belt. Since
the opening of the port, Yokohama developed as a commercial
trading city and industrialization subsequently followed especially
in heavy chemicals.
| In 1945 (Showa 20), the bombing by the USA
became more intense and the whole city of Yokohama was burnt
to the ground by repeated bombings. Especially in the air
raid on May 29, a total of 14,157 died, were injured or went
missing, 79,017 houses were destroyed, and 42 percent of the
city area was burnt to ashes.
| After Japan's defeat on August 15th, 1945,
90 percent of port facilities and 27 percent of the city was
taken over by the allied forces. Due to this requisition,
Yokohama's adjustment and recuperation fell behind that of
other cities. However, in 1951(Showa 26), Japan regained independence
after the peace treaty was signed. On June 1st, 1951 (Showa
26) the administration of Yokohama was transferred to the
city municipality from the national government. Furthermore,
in 1952 (Showa 27), citizens' efforts finally paid off when
Osanbashi Pier was released from requisition and returned
to the Japanese.