Tokyo then-and-now: an anthology

This post is an anthology of several then-and-now comparisons that have made an appearance on my blogs. In no particular order, let’s look at ten examples (the date of the ‘before’ photo is listed in parentheses):

(1) Odaiba (1960)

Tokyo’s expansion by way of reclaimed land can be shocking. Here’s a still from the film Cruel Story of Youth 青春残酷物語 (1960), which shows a sea of floating logs. This was shot on the edge of today’s Odaiba district. If I hadn’t performed the research myself, I would have trouble believing these photos represent the same place. For more, read: Odaiba, then & now: a visual history.

(2) Yoshiwara

Here’s the entrance to the Yoshiwara bordello district circa 1899 and 2013. See: A walk in the sex park: Yoshiwara and the Tokyo bordello. This is by far my most popular post; sex sells, apparently.

(3) Akasaka Mitsuke intersection 赤坂見附 交差点 (1949)

Starting with stills from the 1949 film, Ojôsan kanpai お嬢さん乾杯, here’s a compilation of photos from roughly the same location (map) in 1949 and 2013. See: Times have changed: Akasaka Mitsuke 赤坂見附 交差点.

(4) Shinjuku Streetcar and Golden Gai (1970)

A streetcar once ran along the edge of Shinjuku’s ‘Golden gai’ bar distruct; this is now a pedestrian promenade.  See: From train to tree: Golden Gai, Toden streetcar, and Shinjuku Promenade Park.  Streetcar tracks in 1970, and from roughly the same location today:

(5) Shibuya church from ‘Black Sun’ (1964)

Watching the film Black Sun 黒い太陽 (1964) led me on a torturous search for the location of the film’s iconic church setting. Eventually I located it on a hill on the edges of Shibuya Station.

The church up close in 1964 and 2014:

(6) Asagaya Danchi / Proud City Asagaya (2013)

An encounter with a now-demolished danchi near Minami-asagaya Station led to some dramatic before-and-after comparisons. See The rise and fall and rise of Asagaya Housing danchi 阿佐ヶ谷住宅. The following show the Asagaya Housing danchi in 2012 and 2014. The land was cleared to make way for ‘Proud City Asagaya’ プラウドシティ阿佐ヶ谷.

Before (2012):

After (2014):

(7) Higashi-Ginza (1963)

an eIn a 1963 still from the Kinoshita film Sing, Young People! 歌え若人達, we see the recently filled-in Tsukiji river (now a a highway and the Tsukiji River Ginza park 築地川銀座公園) in Higashi-Ginza (map). At the upper-right is the Kabuki-za 歌舞伎座 theater.

(8) Former train station in Yanaka (1933)

The remains of Kanonji-zaka Station 寛永寺坂駅, disused since 1947, on the edge of Yanaka Cemetery (map). It is now a 7-Eleven. Seen here in 1933 during its use as a station (source), and at the height of the cherry blossom season in 2014: 

(9) Tsukudajima fishing village (1970)

This little fishing village is hidden in plain site (map), surrounded by towering apartment buidlings. See: A fishing village, then a Sky Tree mystery. The first photo is circa 1970, with the second two from 2013/2014.

(10) Tokyo station (1959)

Tokyo station, as seen in an early sequence from the film Thus Another Day 今日もまたかくてありなん (1959):

And a recent photo from a similar location. See: Thus Another Day in 1959 Tokyo

(11) Shinjuku Skyscrapers and the Yodobashi Water Filtration Plant (1962 and 1978) 

As referenced in the post, “The Top 10 Buildings in Tokyo“, Shinjuku’s skyscraper district is an architectural marvel for the speed with which it was developed. As recently as 1968, the core of Shinjuku’s high rise district was occupied by the Yodobashi Water Purification Plant 淀橋浄水場. Below is a map of the plant in 1945 and a photo from 1962 (source):

The next photos are a still from the 1978 film, The Bad News Bears Go to Japan, and a photo from roughly the same location in 2016.

The four buildings noted are:

  1. Sompo Japan Nippon Koa Credit Corporation SOMPOクレジット株式会社
  2. Shinjuku Mitsui Building 新宿三井ビルディング
  3. Shinjuku Sumitomo Building 新宿住友ビル
  4. KDDI Building KDDIビル
(12) Omori POW camp 大森捕虜収容所 (1945)

What was once a WW2 POW camp is now the Heiwajima Boat Race course ボートレース平和島  (map). Read more at: Prison camps and speedboat races 大森捕虜収容所

Outside Tokyo:

Yokohama waterfront:

Before (1957):

After (2013):

See also:


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