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The city's name, which means "horizontal beach", derives from the fact that much of the city was once a coastal marsh. The earliest record of its name appears in the Chinese history texts of , written sometime between 475 and 478 AD. In these texts, it is called (pronounced ). This makes it one of Japan's oldest cities. Yokohama appeared in documents for the first time in 757 AD, when Emperor Shōmu sent a mission to northern Kyūshū to give tribute to Empress Genshō at her court in . She ruled over many provinces encompassing present-day Honshu and Hokkaidō; however she eventually abdicated due to political intrigue and returned north where she became an ordained Buddhist nun named Gyoki Bosatsu ().