A story about Japan’s “Capital” and “Top”

 In every country, there is a city that is usually called the "capital" (royal or imperial city).
ーIn modern Japan, the capital is Tokyo, but it was different in the past!

 In fact, Tokyo has neither always been the "capital" nor the center of Japan. Although it has been a major transportation hub for the Kanto region throughout its long history, it was still a place that could be called "rural.
In the past, the city was called "Edo" (Tokyo), and since 1868, it has been called "Tokyo", meaning "capital in the east", and has become the capital of Japan.

 Around 1600 A.D., a man named Tokugawa Ieyasu (the samurai who practically ruled Japan at that time) began to rule the area around Tokyo (called Edo at that time) as his
headquarters, and it quickly developed into the center of Japan.

After that, it flourished as the political center of Japan until 1867, when the era of the samurai who had "real power" came to an end.

However, the "capital" at that time was not actually Tokyo (= Edo), because the real king of Japan, the "emperor," did not live in Tokyo, but in Kyoto. Throughout Japan's long history, emperors have basically always lived in Kyoto. So the capital of Japan has always been Kyoto.

ーWho is the "real power"? The samurai? Or the emperor?
 This may be a little difficult for foreigners to understand, but in the history of Japan, the samurai were in power for only about 700 years, from about 1190 to 1867. During that time, the samurai held the "real power," but the emperor was still the king of Japan, and Kyoto, where the emperor resided, was considered the capital.

 In 1867, the era of the samurai based in Tokyo (Edo) came to an end. At that time, the power to govern Japan politically was also returned to the Emperor, and he once again became the king of Japan. At that time, the Emperor moved his residence to Tokyo (= Edo), and from that time on, Tokyo became the "capital" of Japan.

ーWhy is it called “Jokyo" to go to Tokyo?
 Incidentally, in Japan, going to Kyoto was called "Jokyo" or "Joraku" in ancient times. In the Edo period (1603-1868), when the samurai were based in Tokyo, Kyoto and its surrounding areas were called “Kamigata".
This is because the word "Kamigata" was used to describe the location of the emperor. The Japanese people were aware that Kyoto was the capital of Japan because the emperor was in Kyoto even though the samurai, the real power holders, were not.

 After the emperor came to live in Tokyo, the area around Kyoto was no longer referred to as “Kamigata". On the contrary, “Jokyo suru" or “Noboru" was used to describe going to Tokyo, and “Kudaru" to describe leaving Tokyo.
 This is probably the reason why railroad lines heading to Tokyo are often called “Nobori" and those leaving Tokyo are called “Kudari".

 I think it is the same with any language, the history and culture of the country is packed into the language. So, as you learn Japanese, I hope you will also experience a lot of Japanese history and culture. I'm sure you will discover many new things and will enjoy learning the language.

Incidentally, during the 700-year period known as the samurai era, the "home base = political center" differed depending on the era and who the leader of the samurai was. For example, Kamakura City in Kanagawa Prefecture, Kyoto (there was a time when the samurai leader was right next to the emperor), and Tokyo.

Also, after 1868, the Emperor ruled Japan again with power as the King of Japan, but that ended in 1945. Now, as you all know, the prime minister is decided by election, and the emperor serves as a symbol of the nation as well as the flag.
& DM