We are obsessed with real estate. Dinner parties in big cities in the West are often dominated by talk of a new house, an old one that was just sold, or another one that somehow, sadly, fell through.
What follows is the first post in a series on manifestations of inequality in postwar Tokyo. In these, I plan to cover living conditions and income inequalities across the different wards, at different points in time. Before going into the data that I collected over the past couple of days (and continue to collect), however, a few general words on inequality in Japan.
Income inequality trends, as per Iyoda Mitsuhiko (1991)
Phew. I have successfully “disengaged” from reading the news and logging on to Facebook for what feels like an eternity. Am I denying reality? No, but I want to turn down the volume for the time being, and news has a way of reaching you despite not checking three times a day. All this leaves more space for books, including Branko Milanovic’s “Global Inequality”.
It does not happen too often that a topic as seemingly arcane as Japanese zoning makes it on one of the biggest economics blogs out there. So I would be amiss in not pointing my readers to the interesting discussions unfolding on Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution.
View from Atago Hills Tower in Tokyo, 2013
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)
Much has happened since I last posted some of my thoughts on the ongoing Eurozone crisis three years ago. Although I do not follow the debate with the same level of vigour now than I once did, a few uncollated notes after the jump nonetheless. I notice that my political views have changed rather considerably over the past couple of years.
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)