Planned community: Mejiro Cultural Village 目白文化村 (1922)

Originally posted on the tokyo files: urban design 東京の都市デザイン:
Mejiro Cultural Village 目白文化村 めじろぶんかむら was a luxury residential area (高級住宅街) said to be modeled after Beverly Hills (source). I will provide some of the general details, but if you are interested in the details of this development, I suggest you refer to the following website, which is…

Occupied Japan: The Kokura incident, “committing excesses”, and murder on the 4th of July 「黒地の絵」

This is the most difficult post I’ve written, not because the sources were difficult to locate (they were), but because the topics are painful and sensitive. I’ll cut to the chase: this post discusses murder, rape, and racism, three topics that, when handled poorly, can be offensive to many readers. With that in mind, please…

Asakusa, Street of Shame (1956) 赤線地帯

I started watching Street of Shame 赤線地帯 (1956) and couldn’t get past the opening credits without sharing these fascinating panoramas of Asakusa 浅草. As the film opens, we are perched high above the city, facing south, with the Sumidagawa 隅田川 on the left. (My guess is that the camera was placed on top of Tobu Asakusa Station 浅草駅). We pan…

Renewable city: the once and future Manila

Manila, once a jewel of the Pacific, is an enormous metro area with stifling traffic, poor air quality, and poor living conditions for a segment of the population. This post profiles the charms and challenges of Manila, and also profiles Hybrid Social Solutions, Inc. (HSSi), a company that provides solar technologies to rural, off-grid communities in the Philippines.

This is a soul shake これを魂振りという: Doctor Atomic Symphony & Symphony No. 6 “Hiroshima”

    Went to see a pair of unusual musical performance recently: the Japanese premier of the “Doctor Atomic Symphony” by John Adams (adapted from the opera of the same name), and Symphony No. 6 “Hiroshima” 交響曲第6番「HIROSHIMA」 (1985) by Ikuma Dan 團 伊玖磨.  About the latter piece, it is difficult to find online information, even…