The great 'Meireko Fire' levels the great city of Edo, killing a third of its population... A 15-year-old boy succeeds his father as Emperor, sparking a remarkable transformation... From 1944 to 1945, U.S. Superfortresses bomb Tokyo relentlessly, reducing it to rubble.
In Tokyo: A Biography, author Stephen Mansfield demonstrates how such events - and many more like them - became opportunities to remake this centuries-old city. In a whirlwind journey through Tokyo's past, Mansfield demonstrates how the city's response to everything from natural disasters to regime change has been to reinvent itself. A calamitous fire results in massive expansion of the city. A malleable boy becomes a figurehead for relentless forces of modernisation. Utter destruction wipes the slate clean so Tokyoites may start over again. And so it goes on.
Tokyo's story is fascinating and Mansfield's Tokyo rises higher with each renewal. By the book's end, we see a city that is utterly unique - a place that, despite its long history, is always preparing to turn the next corner...and the next.