Photographer's Note

The current Imperial Palace (Kokyo) is located on the former site of Edo Castle, a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls in the center of Tokyo, a short walk from Tokyo station. It is the residence of Japan's Imperial Family.

Edo Castle used to be the seat of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 until 1867. In 1868, the shogunate was overthrown, and the country's capital and Imperial Residence were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. In 1888 construction of a new Imperial Palace was completed.

On the night of 25 May 1945 most of the structures of the Imperial Palace were destroyed in the Allied fire-bombing raid. It was from the basement of the concrete library that Emperor Showa declared the capitulation of Japan in August 1945. Due to the large-scale destruction of the Meiji-era palace, the new main palace hall (Kyūden (宮殿?)) and residences were constructed on the western part of the site in the 1960s. The whole area was renamed literally Imperial Residence (皇居, Kōkyo?) in 1948. The east part was renamed East Garden (東御苑, Higashi-Gyoen?) and has been a public park since 1968.

It is while in Japan that I became aware of how much of the old Japan had been destroyed during the bombing campaigns and of how many civilians lost their lives. Most of Tokyo had been razed to the ground.

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Additional Photos by Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3580 W: 114 N: 6323] (28618)
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