I have decided to put some of my little research assignments (largely “self-assigned”, that is) onto the blog in order to share them more widely and get myself to be more disciplined in articulating my thoughts. This one below is about Japan’s infrastructure investments over the last 100+ years.
We went on a long weekend trip to Shimoda at the southern tip of the Azu Peninsula in June, and I totally forgot to put some photos up back then. It was like a trip back in time, both to the mid-nineteenth century, when Commodore Perry’s ships arrived here, and the roaring eighties, when the real estate boom reigned here just like in other seaside resorts across Japan.
A few interesting pieces on housing, construction and real estate in Tokyo and beyond caught my attention lately. I wanted to collect them here for future reference and research. I wonder whether what was once key to understanding Japanese cities’ success in dealing with unbridled urbanisation has become an impediment to its citizens enjoying the fruits of an affluent society today.
The view from my balcony in Nakano, Tokyo (May 2016) Continue reading
As my Tokyo research progresses, I have been looking a little more closely at the history of Sumida Ward, one of Tokyo’s traditional manufacturing areas. Today I took a walk from Hikifune to Ryogoku.
Steel plating company, Sumida Ward
The second presentation I gave during the “Inheriting the City” conference in Taipei last week was on Tokyo. As with the one on Yangon, I am still debating whether I should write it up as a full-blown paper. In order not to forget what I said, herewith a summary.
I blogged quite regularly about Japan’s economic history when living here in 2012-13. A fellow student of mine stumbled upon one of the posts during his research. As my first paper is soon due (it will look at the “default reconstruction” of Tokyo’s urban industries), I took this as a reminder to also look here for some clues for my current research.
A Hitachi washing machine as exhibited in the Edo Museum (more here)
My university hosted a Planetary screening the other day. Guy, the film’s director, came along to take questions from the audience.
From time to time, I receive some comments on the by now more than 200 blog posts on this site. As I have been doing quite a lot of “before and after” photo sets, quite a few people have been able to reconnect with their own past as a result.
September 1953 – Perry Apartments, left, with Harris Apartments on the right (Antonin Raymond), photograph from Gerald & Rella Warner Japan Slide Collection, reproduced with permission.
Japan’s initial success after the Second World War had a lot to do with the copying of Western technology. The economic miracle of the 1960s, however, rested on Japanese firms’ ever-increasing capability to innovate. The world was to get a taste of this when thousands of spectators visited Tokyo for the 1964 Olympic Games. Kenzo Tange’s Gymnasium provided a central venue of great symbolic power.
All photos by Manuel Oka (www.manueloka.com)