Tokyo City Plan : Marunouchi
US FAR EAST COMMAND / NINON CHIKEISHA
Published 1948, Tokyo
Size 32.5" X 44.5"
A rare an important city plan of Tokyo, Japan, published during the Allied occupation following the Second World War and at the onset of the urban reconstruction of this important city.
Reconstruction of the urban landscape of Tokyo began in September 1946 after the passing of the Special City Planning Law, some two years following the end of hostilities between Imperial Japan and the Allied Forces.
The Supreme Command of Allied Powers responsible for rebuilding Japan, initially began the reconstruction of the Japanese society with structural changes at the socio-political level by introducing land and certain economic reforms. However, by 1947 and early 1948, faltering economic conditions and a lack of raw materials forced the Allied Command to alter the course of the reconstruction of the Japanese state. Concerns over Communist influence both domestically and regionally following a string of victories by The Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War, forced the Allied Command to institute greater reforms to prop up the Japanese economy.
It is also important to note that with the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, Japan began to play a vital role in the geo-political defence structure put in place by Western Powers in the Asian theatre. With Japan acting as a supply depot during the Korean War, it’s strategic and geographic importance increased as well as underpinning future economic growth. These reforms and economic renewal would allow for the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty on September 8, 1951 and thus end the Occupation of mainland Japan.
The map by the US Far East Command of the cityTokyo, which was not issued for resale, is thus important in giving those interested in the post war reconstruction era an important view of the city at the onset of this important urban renewal phase that took place within the greater structural reforms meant to make Japan, and its capital city, an important component of the alliance structure of Western Powers in Asia. The city plan also provides a time capsule of the urban landscape and the changes that have occurred to meet the demands of the urban sprawl brought on by rapid economic development beginning in 1950.
It also interesting to note that the maps nomenclature is in english thus allowing for those service men and women working at the Supreme Command the ability to easily orient themselves. Certain road names are given distinctly western designations to further help in this endeavour. The city plan also lists numbered houses, military installations and principal Japanese buildings. It should be further stated that the city plan was compiled in 1948 from aerial photographs flown by the US Air Force in 1945 and 1947 and intensified by field survey with the exception of the Imperial Palace grounds. However, the most interesting aspect of the notations found on the map is the request to the users to note “errors in location or omissions of dependent housing, principal streets, routes, military installations and principal Japanese buildings and bring them the the attention of the intelligence division, [of the] engineer office”, thus further implying that the “fog of war” had yet to fully dissipate even in the reconstruction phase.