Roppongi

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Roppongi (六本木 Roppongi?) is a district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan, famous as home to the rich Roppongi Hills area and an active night club scene. Many foreign embassies are located in Roppongi, and the night life is popular with locals and foreigners alike. It is in the southern portion of the circle described by the Yamanote Line, south of Akasaka and north of Azabu.

Contents

History

The name "Roppongi", which appears to have been coined around 1660, literally means "six trees". Six very old and large zelkova trees used to mark the area; first three were cleared, and the last was destroyed during the Pacific War.[1] Another legend has it that the name comes from the fact that six daimyo lived nearby during the Edo period, each with the kanji character for "tree" or a kind of tree in their names. Roppongi was not extensively populated until after the Meiji Restoration, although the area was trafficked for centuries and served as the site of the cremation of Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada's wife in 1626.[2]

In 1890, the Third Imperial Guard of the Imperial Japanese Army was moved to a site near Roppongi (now home to the Pacific bureau of Stars and Stripes). The influx of soldiers led to the area's rise as a nightlife district, briefly interrupted by the Great Kanto Earthquake which flattened the area in 1923.[2] Roppongi was administratively part of Azabu Ward from 1878 to 1947.

After World War II, during which the area was again destroyed, this time by aerial bombing raids, the United States Army and Allied government officials occupied several facilities in the area, beginning Roppongi's reputation as a neighborhood with large numbers of non-Japanese. Several large US military installations were located in the nearby area, with Hardy Barracks probably the most significant.

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