“Clark Parker クラーク·パーカー is a writer living in Tokyo. In his spare time he is a full-time salaryman. The Tokyo Files paints a portrait of Japan’s capital city through the lens of Clark’s obsessions, which include art & architecture, history & urban planning, and, most importantly, craft beer. Since moving to Japan in 2011 Clark has become increasingly convinced that Tokyo is the best city in the world, and is intent on proving it.” (Adapted from a bio I wrote for another publication – some details have changed, but the gist is the same, except now I live in Texas.)
About the blog
The Tokyo Files 東京ファイル was created to share information about Tokyo’s museums, but has evolved into an examination of the changing urban fabric of Tokyo, with a focus on the impact of public transportation and danchi apartment complexes. The changing landscape of Tokyo is best appreciated by viewing classic Japanese cinema; for instance, Oshima’s Cruel Story of Youth (1960) provides stunning pictures of logs floating in Tokyo Bay, the current-day Odaiba:
Odaiba then and now:
Tokyo’s geography and Japan’s history are vastly interesting, and I hope to make this an entertaining and informative Tokyo history blog 東京の歴史ブログ. I like to consider myself a “biographer of cities”, with Tokyo as my beloved subject.
Points of interest mentioned in The Tokyo Files:
My other Japan blogs:
- the tokyo files: archives 東京ファイル: other observations about Tokyo
- the tokyo files: urban design: Tokyo’s urban design, and how it got that way
- the tokyo files: billboard architecture: Japanese kanban kenchiku 看板建築 architecture
- the tokyo files media: movie stills, architecture, and other photos
- the tokyo files maps マッピング東京: various maps of the Tokyo area
- the tokyo files: danchi 東京団地萌え: Japan’s post-war housing complexes
- the tokyo files: rivers 東京の川: exploring Tokyo’s rivers
- the tokyo files: answers: questions about Tokyo and Japan, answered!
- the tokyo files: photos: candid views of Tokyo life, often from Google Streetview
- Funny Japanese Street Signs: a collection of funny Japanese street signs.
More about The Tokyo Files:
I probably should have called this blog “Tokyo Wanderer” or “Tokyo Drifter”, since I enjoy nothing more then setting off into (or out of) the city with only a vague itinerary in mind. I don’t know what I’ll find, but it’s almost always good. The following photograph is an example: towards the end of a long walk, I stopped at one of Tokyo’s ubiquitous vending machines to buy a drink. My hands were cold / I’m clumsy, and a 10-yen coin fell from my fingers onto the ground. The copper coin rolled for a few feet, began to spiral, and came to rest along its edge, wedged delicately between two pieces of asphalt. With haste, and a touch of nervousness, I photographed the coin, capturing a moment that may never pass in front of my eyes again.
A coin on its side is not important, and perhaps little in my blog is important, but the beauty of living in a foreign country is that the mundane details of life become richer. Perhaps this fades with time (I’ll let you know), but until that happens, I plan on taking notes (and pictures) of whatever magical or mundane moments cross my path.
If you have any topic suggestions or general comments, I’d be happy to hear from you. Follow me on twitter @thetokyofiles or email me: thetokyofiles [at] gmail [dot] com. You can also find me on Quora from time to time.
News and events:
(I) CEO Lunch – The Future of Transport (November, 2016): I spoke at The Future of Transport lunch held by the Delphi Network at the International House of Japan, in Roppongi.
(II) Stanford University curriculum: The Road to Tokyo: my post about underground rivers was included as a reference material for a curriculum in development by Stanford University: The Road to Tokyo.
(III) “Bohemian ghosts around Ikebukuro”: my take on the artists’ colonies of ‘Ikebukuro Montparnasse’ and Mejiro Cultural Village, published in Metropolis Japan (January, 2018)
(IV) “THE “HIGH LINES” OF TOKYO”: A guide to the city’s hidden railway parks, published in Metropolis Japan (March, 2018)
(V) Tokyo Cheapo interview: the fun and helpful website, Tokyo Cheapo, interviewed me, which you can read here. Tokyo Cheapo also was kind enough to include me on a list of Tokyo’s Top Tweeters. I advise you to follow the others on the list. They are much better.
(VI) An interview with Katie Adler (“English with Katie”): The audio from the following video is an interview I gave on the show “English with Katie” (broken link: englishwithkatie com/live-w-katie/). The photos are taken from my blog.
Sample of The Tokyo Files posts referenced in books, journal articles, & other sources:
- Listed as an 英語タウン誌・フリーペーパー (English town free paper) on the Japanese website 英語情報 Eigo Joho
- Ad Balloons on the Ginza: Float, Young Advertisers! (1890-1989) (The Tokyo Files): referenced in the book In the Event of Women (2021)
- Sleeping with Hello Kitty: travel sites bring foreigners to Japan’s love hotels (The Tokyo Files): referenced in the book: La sessualità giapponese. Uno sguardo sociologico (Japanese sexuality. A sociological look), by Umberto Pagano and Giovanna Procopio
- Okubo rifle shooting range 大久保小銃射撃場, from Killers on Parade 夕陽に赤い俺の顔 (1961) (The Tokyo Files Media): referenced in the book The Unlikely Detective and the Black Dragon Society (2021)
- Chiemi Eri as Eliza Doolittle: ‘My Fair Lady’ in Japan, 1963 (The Tokyo Files Media): referenced in the book The Routledge Companion to Musical Theatre (2022)
- Koban 交番: police boxes (The Tokyo Files Urban Design), was referenced as a resource in the following:
- Book: Law and Justice in Japanese Popular Culture: From Crime Fighting Robots to Duelling Pocket Monsters 日本の大衆文化に見る法と正義 (2018)
- Article: Japanese Atmospheres of Criminal Justice (2019), The British Journal of Criminology (PDF)
- Architecture as affective law enforcement: Theorising the Japanese Koban (2021), in Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal
- Bombing Nagasaki: the scrapbook (The Tokyo Files Archives), was a primary source for the 2018 Gizmodo article, Americans Played Football in the Nuked Remains of Nagasaki For the ‘Atom Bowl’ in 1946
- Watching the Hakone Ekiden: a practical guide to Japan’s biggest race (The Tokyo Files): cited in a University of British Columbia master’s thesis, Ekiden Racing: Examining the Intercultural Sporting Experience of Canadian Elite Runners in the Japanese Context (PDF)
Urban Planning & Tokyo’s Development
- Thus Another Day in 1959 Tokyo (The Tokyo Files Archives) – the transformation of Tokyo Station from this post is referenced in Manuel Bouzas’ exploration of the regenerative nature of Tokyo development: “From the ephemeral city to the Metabolizing city” 一時的な都市から代謝都市へ.
- Nishhoken: Japanese sunshine rights / sunlight laws 日照権 (The Tokyo Files Urban Design), referenced in a master’s thesis, Globalization of Smart City “Living Labs”: A Case Study of Toyota Woven City)
- Egalitair Tokio (observations on gated communities in Tokyo); “Free State of Amsterdam: Weblog of Zef Hemel on urban planning”
- Mentioned by Citydog.by (Minsk, Belarus) in their review of an urbanism exhibit: Cities on the edge of survival: Japanese urban projects 1960s Города на грани выживания: японские урбанистические проекты 1960 – х гг»
- Traffic calming in Tokyo 交通静穏化 (The Tokyo Files Urban Design), referenced in:
- Research on Constructing a Healing Environment for the Street Spaces of a High-Density City: Using Street Spaces in Macao’s Old City Area (2020) (alternate source)
- National Vision of Non-Motorized Transport Infrastructure (2020) (PDF) – a practical guide for city governments in planning and prioritizing the needs of pedestrians and cyclists jointly developed by The Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Indonesia and the Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP) Indonesia and the UNEP Share the Road Programme.
- Design Manual for Street Elements And Amenities in Delhi (~2019) (PDF), a publication by the Delhi Urban Art Commission, set up by an Act of Parliament in 1973 to “advise the Government of India in the matter of preserving, developing and maintaining the aesthetic quality of urban and environmental design within Delhi and to provide advice and guidance to any local body in respect of any project of building operations or engineering operations or any development proposal which affects or is likely to affect the skyline or the aesthetic quality of the surroundings or any public amenity provided therein”
- Odaiba, then & now: a visual history お台場の歴史 (The Tokyo Files) – referenced in a Thai thesis (PDF) for Silpakorn University, and listed as a reference for a class at the University of New South Wales (UNSW): Built Environment BEIL 6016 (Summer Term 2022)
- Photos from Sazae-san and Sakurashinmachi: Sunday sanpo on the Nomikawa Green Road (The Tokyo Files Archives), included in the Uruguayan doctoral thesis, “Zipped: Arquitectura residencial japonesa contemporánea producida en fuertes marcos de restricción de proyecto derivados de condiciones geométricas y dimensionales” (Topic: contemporary Japanese residential architecture influences by geographic restrictions; Chapter 5 – Ciudad atomizada (atomized city) (PDF)
- Chofu Gymnasium with the green roof 調布市総合体育館 (The Tokyo Files Media): referenced in the book, The Importance of Greenery in Sustainable Buildings (2021)
- Japanese signboard architecture, an introduction 看板建築 (The Tokyo Files Billboard Architecture): noted in a master’s thesis for the Technical University of Madrid, Learning from Las Vegas y Made in Tokyo (PDF)
- German Wikipedia entry on Entō Bunsui 円筒分水 (cylindrical water diversions)
- Tokyo elevation and flood maps (The Tokyo Files Maps) was used as a reference for a Masters Thesis: High Techtonic City
- Walking on Water: the underground rivers of Tokyo (The Tokyo Files), was used as a resource by:
- “Conceptualizing multidimensional barriers: a framework for assessing constraints in realizing recreational benefits of urban green spaces” Ecology & Society (2022, link, PDF)
- ANALYSE DOCUMENTÉE, LA VILLE MARITIME (DOCUMENTAL ANALYSIS, THE MARITIME CITY), by Faustine CALVET, Charlotte DESMARES, Thibault GENSOLLEN, Jian GUAN, and Catherine PERRIN (2016, PDF)
- “Voices of Yanesan”, pages 27 and 62, a fascinating architecture thesis by Cath Wheater:
- It’s OK to fish if a woman is drowning (Funny Japanese Street Signs): referenced in the German book, Im Reich der Figuren: Meta-narrative Kommunikationsfiguren und die ›Mangaisierung‹ des japanischen Alltags (In the realm of figures: Meta-narrative communication figures and the ›mangaization‹ of everyday life in Japan)
- The Hong Kong Files: like The Tokyo Files, but for Hong Kong. A younger blog.
- I See American People: My “American” blog, this is the start of my lifetime attempt to make sense of the United States and beyond.
- The post, Breaking the Law to Mail a Letter, or, Being a Pedestrian in America and Abroad, was featured in the transportation and land-use website streets.mn
- Some Prefer Nettles: The blog’s name is inspired by the English title of Tanizaki’s book of the same name and is a project with the motto: provoking the unruly mind. Less polished than my other blogs, this gives me permission to take more artistic chances.
- The Asia Files: notes from travels across Asia
- The Estonia Files: about Estonia
Unless otherwise noted, all photos and text in this blog are copyrighted by the author (or whatever the legal mumbo-jumbo is). Please contact me with any questions or comments.
Dear The Tokyo files 東京ファイル
Nice to talk to you.
My name is Yuta Sugawara.
How are you doing?
I hope you are doing well.
Currently, I live and work in Tokyo.
First, sorry to message you all of a sudden.
I saw your blog posts about Japan, which are so organized and easy to read, with your fantastic description of each location.
So I thought the concept of your blog matches right up with the concept for this website we have in the works.
We plan to invest in some serious search engine optimization, so we plan to see lots of traffic on the site, and the more content we can put on it, the more hits we can expect to get.
Here’s a Facebook page we have up as a teaser while the site is under construction:
www facebook com/TokyoLocalGuide/?ref=ts&fref=ts
We’re looking to assimilate the content of some of your blog posts (in full) as topical content for pages on our site.
We would include a link to the original post, as well as a profile blurb at the end which would also link to your blog. It’d be a great way to give some old posts more exposure, as well as the new ones.
Plus, further down the line we could put out Japanese language versions of the same posts to bring you traffic from a larger clientele.
Or even better, if you could write posts for your blog on our web service.
It’d be great if you could collaborate with us on making content for the site as a volunteer writer.
In the process, we’d be totally open to hearing input from you, like how the design on a blog page should look. You’d be an honorary member of the company.
If you’re up for it, I’d really like to have you on our team.
Let’s make a wonderful blog platform together.
When it comes to attracting customers,I’m willing to go the extra mile.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Oh! I didn’t realize. Thanks for the permission, needed or not! 😉
I was born in Tokyo in 1956. I’d love to include this image https://kentpleasetry.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/asakusa-sensoji-1956-aerial.jpg?w=750 in a Powerpoint presentation about my life, with permission? Thank you.
Absolutely. I could hardly say no, given that this is a screen shot from the opening sequence of “Street of Shame” 赤線地帯.