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Chūō is one of the 23 special wards that form the heart of Tokyo, Japan. The ward refers to itself as Chūō City in English.

Its Japanese name literally means "Central Ward," and it is historically the main commercial center of Tokyo, although Shinjuku has risen to challenge it since the end of World War II. The most famous district in Chūō is Ginza , built on the site of a former silver mint from which it takes its name. The gold mint, or Kinza, formerly occupied the site of the present-day Bank of Japan headquarters building, also in Chūō.

As of 2008, the ward has an estimated resident population of 108,943 and a density of 9654 persons per km². However, because of the concentration of businesses, offices and retail space, the daytime population swells to an estimated 650,000.

1612: Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, planning to establish Edo as the de facto capital of Japan, begins work on a new commercial district surrounding the eastern end of the Tōkaidō, the main road connecting Tokyo and the Kansai region. During the Edo period this area is known as Edomachi - the town center of Edo. Much of the area (particularly Ginza and Tsukiji) was loose sand piled at the delta of the Sumida River before being filled in by the shogunate.
1657: After a fire consumes much of the city, the area is re-planned with more canals to accommodate more maritime commerce.
1869: A foreigners' settlement is established in Tsukiji. It continues until about 1899.
1872: A fire consumes much of the Ginza area. In its aftermath, the governor of Tokyo re-plans Ginza to be a modern European-style commercial district between Shinbashi (the city's main railway terminal at the time) to the south and Nihombashi (the main business and financial district) to the north.
1878: Under a new local organization statute, the wards of Nihonbashi and Kyobashi are established under the government of Tokyo City, covering the area now occupied by Chūō.
1945: Following Japan's defeat in World War II, several buildings are taken over by SCAP to serve as supply centers for the occupation forces. These include the Hattori Watch Company, the Matsuya department store and the Toshiba Building. The buildings are returned to Japanese civilian control by 1951.
1947: Chūō Ward is founded on March 15 under the new Local Autonomy Law.

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