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or Tokio

[toh-kee-oh; Japanese taw-kyaw] /ˈtoʊ kiˌoʊ; Japanese ˈtɔ kyɔ/
a seaport in and the capital of Japan, on Tokyo Bay: one of the world's largest cities; destructive earthquake and fire 1923; signing of the Japanese surrender document aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, September 2, 1945.
Formerly Edo, Yeddo, Yedo.
Related forms
Tokyoite, noun


[juh-pan] /dʒəˈpæn/
a constitutional monarchy on a chain of islands off the E coast of Asia: main islands, Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. 141,529 sq. mi. (366,560 sq. km).
Capital: Tokyo.
Japanese Nihon, Nippon.
Sea of, the part of the Pacific Ocean between Japan and mainland Asia. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for Tokyo


/ˈtəʊkjəʊ; -kɪˌəʊ/
the capital of Japan, a port on SE Honshu on Tokyo Bay (an inlet of the Pacific): part of the largest conurbation in the world (the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area) of over 35 million people; major industrial centre and the chief cultural centre of Japan. Pop (city proper): 8 025 538 (2002 est)


a glossy durable black lacquer originally from the Orient, used on wood, metal, etc
work decorated and varnished in the Japanese manner
a liquid used as a paint drier
relating to or varnished with japan
verb -pans, -panning, -panned
(transitive) to lacquer with japan or any similar varnish


an archipelago and empire in E Asia, extending for 3200 km (2000 miles) between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific and consisting of the main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu and over 3000 smaller islands: feudalism abolished in 1871, followed by industrialization and expansion of territories, esp during World Wars I and II, when most of SE Asia came under Japanese control; dogma of the emperor's divinity abolished in 1946 under a new democratic constitution; rapid economic growth has made Japan the most industrialized nation in the Far East. Official language: Japanese. Religion: Shintoist majority, large Buddhist minority. Currency: yen. Capital: Tokyo. Pop: 127 253 075 (2013 est). Area: 369 660 sq km (142 726 sq miles) Japanese names Nippon, Nihon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Tokyo

so named 1868, from Japanese to "east" + kyo "capital;" its earlier name was Edo, literally "estuary."


1570s, via Portuguese Japao, Dutch Japan, acquired in Malacca from Malay Japang, from Chinese jih pun "sunrise" (equivalent of Japanese Nippon), from jih "sun" + pun "origin." Earliest form in Europe was Marco Polo's Chipangu. Cultural contact led to japaning "coat with lacquer or varnish" (1680s), japonaiserie (1896, from French), etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Tokyo in Culture

Tokyo definition

Capital of Japan and largest city in the country, located on the island of Honshu at the head of Tokyo Bay; the administrative, financial, educational, and cultural center of Japan.

Note: The world's largest city, Tokyo is also among its most modern.
Note: It was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II.
Note: Tokyo became the capital of the Japanese Empire in 1868 when Japan began a period of intensive modernization.

Japan definition

Island nation in the northwest Pacific Ocean off the coast of east Asia, separated by the Sea of Japan from Russian Siberia, China, and Korea. The Japanese archipelago includes four major islands (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku) as well as many smaller islands. Its capital and largest city is Tokyo.

Note: Called the “Land of the Rising Sun,” Japan is symbolized by a red sun on a white background.
Note: Another symbol of Japan is Fujiyama, also called Mount Fuji, a volcano whose symmetrical snow-capped peak has been the object of countless pilgrimages, poems, and paintings. It has not erupted since 1707.
Note: Imperial Japan was organized on a feudal system (see feudalism), characterized by the samurai (the warrior class, which eventually became landed gentry) and the shogun (the hereditary administrative leader). The emperor, believed to be divine, was the ceremonial leader. Japan is a constitutional monarchy today.
Note: Japan's ports were first opened to Western traders in the sixteenth century but were closed in the seventeenth century. Japan remained in virtual isolation until the 1850s, when an American naval officer, Matthew C. Perry, persuaded the government to reopen trade with the West.
Note: Suffering from overcrowding, lack of natural resources, and the influence of powerful military factions, Japan pursued an aggressive policy of expansion in China during the 1930s, ultimately resulting in a military alliance with Germany and Italy to form the Axis powers in World War II. (See also Hiroshima, Pearl Harbor, and Douglas MacArthur.)
Note: Although a world leader in shipbuilding, electronics, and automobile manufacture, Japan's economy suffered a severe slump during the 1990s.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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