A Tale of Technology: Kenzo Tange’s 1964 Yoyogi National Gymnasium and the Japanese Economic Miracle

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.

IMG_5815_edit

All photos by Manuel Oka (www.manueloka.com)

Continue reading

Piketty’s trickery?

Watching Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the 21st Century” make waves in this country has been fun and insightful, albeit time-consuming. The controversy the book has caused is telling of the political climate in this country. Perhaps this comes out “best” on Amazon and on Forbes.

piketty

Continue reading

21st-century capital

Seldom does a book create such buzz as Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the 21st Century” and rarely has a book faster been lauded as one of the decade’s defining books on economics. Much of the silence on this blog can be explained by engaging with Piketty’s magnum opus. I wanted to wait before posting anything before I would see the French economist speak at Columbia yesterday. What follows are some notes on the book and on issues beyond.

piketty

Thomas Piketty (left), with panelists Suresh Naidu, Victoria de Grazia and Thomas Edsall

Continue reading

Green capitalism

A few articles have got me thinking over the past couple of weeks. Ideologically, they have made this year kick off on a slightly “disorienting” foundation. Of particular note have been a long piece on ecology as well as a series on architecture. Yet also polemics on work ethic and class have been pondered long after putting them aside. Herewith a few scribbles.

shimizu3

Man walking in front of Shimizu HQ, the most eco-friendly office in Japan, so they say…

Continue reading