Toshima, Tokyo

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Toshima
豊島区
Special ward
Toshima City
Ikebukuro at night in Toshima
Ikebukuro at night in Toshima
Flag of Toshima
Flag
Location of Toshima in Tokyo Metropolis
Location of Toshima in Tokyo Metropolis
Toshima is located in Japan
Toshima
Toshima
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 35°43′56.85″N 139°42′55.46″E / 35.7324583°N 139.7154056°E / 35.7324583; 139.7154056Coordinates: 35°43′56.85″N 139°42′55.46″E / 35.7324583°N 139.7154056°E / 35.7324583; 139.7154056
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Prefecture Tokyo Metropolis
Government
 • Mayor Yukio Takano
Area
 • Total 13.01 km2 (5.02 sq mi)
Population (May 1, 2011)
 • Total 267,787
 • Density 20,583.17/km2 (53,310.2/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
Symbols
- Tree Prunus X yedoenis
- Flower Azalea
Address 1-18-1 Higashi Ikebukuro
170-8422
Phone number 03-3981-1111
Website www.city.toshima.lg.jp/english

Toshima (豊島区 Toshima-ku?) is a special ward located in Tokyo Metropolis, Japan. In English, it is known as Toshima City. Toshima is one of the eight central wards of the Tokyo Metropolitan area, including Chiyoda, Minato, Shibuya, Chuo, Shinjuku, Taito, and Bunkyo surrounding the Imperial Palace. Located in the north-eastern area of Tokyo, Toshima is bordered by the wards of Nerima, Itabashi, and Kita wards, in the north, and Shinjuku and Bunkyo in the south.

The ward was founded on March 15, 1947 and reached a peak resident population of 370,000 in 1965. The population has continued to decline and as of May 1, 2011, the ward had an estimated population of 267,787 with a population density of 20,583.17 persons per km². During the day the population swells with commuters, resulting in a daytime population of around 430,000.

The total land area of Toshima is 13.01 km², sitting on a moderate plateau with a difference of 28 m between the ward's highest and lowest points. Approximately 47% of Toshima's land is residential, and 20% is commercial and public areas.

Although Toshima is a ward, it refers to itself as a city. The ward offices are located in Ikebukuro, which is also the commercial and entertainment center of Toshima.

With a non-Japanese population of 19,868, or 7.42% of the total, Toshima is one of the most international wards in Tokyo. Of the foreign population, 56% is of Chinese descent, 20% is of Korean descent, followed by Filipinos and of European descent.

History

Toshima was formed in 1932 by the merger of four towns, Sugamochō, Nishi-sugamochō, Takadachō, and Nagasakichō, bordered by the quickly expanding former city of Tokyo.

The area evolved from a suburban agricultural district in the Edo period to the urban commercial center that it is today. The growth was fueled by the construction of various rail lines built in the Meiji and Taishō periods.

The former Somei village, now part of Toshima, is the birthplace of the Somei Yoshino, Japan's most popular variety of sakura (cherry blossom tree). The variety was developed at the end of the Edo period.

Politics and government

Toshima ward office

Toshima is run by a city assembly of 36 elected members. The current mayor is Yukio Takano, an independent backed by all major parties except the Japanese Communist Party.

In April 2011, Taiga Ishikawa was elected to the Toshima assembly, becoming the first openly gay man to win an election in Japanese history.1

Neighborhoods

  • Kami Ikebukuro
  • Nishi Ikebukuro
  • Higashi Ikebukuro
  • Kanamecho
  • Sugamo
  • Komagome
  • Otsuka
  • Mukohara

Sights

Ikebukuro Station
Toshima's native Somei Yoshino sakura
Myonichikan of Jiyu Gakuen
Sunshine 60 building
Togenuki Jizo Street in Sugamo
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space

Festivals

  • Fukuro Matsuri: This festival started in 1968 and features a parade of mikoshi (portable shrines) and a yassa dance. It is held on September 14 and 15 of each year outside the west exit of Ikebukuro Station and attracts as many as 200,000 people.
  • Otsuka Awa Odori Dance: A large summer event gathering 150,000 people, this festival features groups performing and competing with colorful costumes and dancing in front of JR Ōtsuka Station.
  • Nagasaki Shishimai (lion dance): The lion dance is performed every year on the second Sunday of May at Nagasaki Shrine.

Economy

FamilyMart has its headquarters in Ikebukuro, Toshima.2 Seiyu Group has its registered head office in Toshima.3 Libro, a bookstore chain, is headquartered in Toshima. Itochu corporation and Seven & I Holdings Co., Ltd. has a presence in Toshima.4

In 1956 Asatsu Inc. established its headquarters in Meijiro, Toshima. In May 1967 the company's headquarters moved to Shinbashi, Minato.5

Education

There are four Universities in Toshima.

Two prestigious universities are located bordering Toshima. They are University of Tokyo in Bunkyo and Waseda University bordering Shinjuku. Located Tokyo Metropolitan Government Board of Education operates area public high schools.

Toshima is also home to a number of accredited private English schools.

Transportation

Rail

The main hub for rail transportation in Toshima ward is Ikebukuro Station, the second busiest train station in Japan.

The rail lines which run through or terminate in Toshima are:

Also known as the Arakawa Metropolitan Streetcar Line, it is Tokyo's only remaining streetcar line.

Famous people

See also

References

  1. ^ Natsuko Fukue (April 26, 2011). "First openly gay candidate wins in Tokyo ward". The Japan Times. 
  2. ^ "Company Information." FamilyMart. Retrieved on April 7, 2010.
  3. ^ "Corporate Data." Seiyu Group. Retrieved on May 19, 2009.
  4. ^ "会社案内." Libro. Retrieved on May 19, 2009.
  5. ^ "Corporate Overview." Asatsu-DK. Retrieved on November 9, 2009.

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