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.
Man walking in front of Shimizu HQ, the most eco-friendly office in Japan, so they say…
The violence in the Ukraine leaves me with an incredibly numb feeling in my stomach. To some older folks it may appear like a flashback from the time when the Soviet Union disintegrated amid strife in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Yet this also seems like a slow-motion train crash people feared but never really thought possible. In this it reminded me of another event in the post-Soviet space.
Painted tanks near the Great Patriotic War Memorial, Kiev
In the second part of this short series on Japanese post-war nation-building and national identity, I will revisit the 1970 World Exhibition in Osaka, short “Expo ’70”. Just as with the Olympics six years before in Tokyo, the Expo gave a newly confident Japan a stage to present itself to the world and, more importantly, its own citizens.
View of the Expo grounds, with danchi housing estate in the front
As my business partner and I are beginning to plan a trip to India around election time (April/May) I tuned into a recent Asia Society event with great interest. It was all the more interesting as my wife and I explore opportunities of going to India for a longer period of time once we’re done over here in the US.
The Mausoleum of Itmad-ud-Daulah, Agra, India
Global Frontiers Inc., the venture I run together with my colleague Sam Baker, now has a website. My friend Robert from Tokyo designed the page while another buddy, Manuel, kindly agreed to us showcasing his photos. The symbolism of “opening doors” to primarily Asian markets works really well I feel.
In 2013 Kyodo opened its archives for an exhibition showcasing Tokyo photos from the 1960s mainly. By juxtaposing them with shots from the same angle today, the incredible transformation of Tokyo over the decades becomes visible. I stumbled over its website where many of works can be seen. A small selection with links to posts from this blog after the jump.
The 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1970 Osaka Expo were the two mass events that shaped the world’s view of post-war Japan. Within Japan, they also helped to foster a new sense of national identity. And for all the visual prowess these events commanded and progress they reflected, there was a darker side to them. I will begin by looking at the 1964 Olympics.
Yoyogi National Gymnasium (Kenzo Tange) – 1964
Junzo Sakakura (1901-1969) was one of the fathers of modern Japanese architecture. He left a huge legacy in the built environment of post-war Tokyo, perhaps most notably through his designs for Shinjuku and Shibuya stations.
Shibuya station seen from the east