Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Illustrations
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This short book took a long time to write. Along the way, it changed from autobiography to anthropology to history. While I was studying architecture history at Tokyo University in the mid-1980s, I rented a house in Yanaka, not far from the Hongo campus, and became involved in a local preservation movement that ...
Introduction: Rediscovering Tokyo’s Vernacular
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The last decades of the twentieth century saw a worldwide effl orescence of public history and preservation. In what Andreas Huyssen has called a “voracious museal culture,” vast numbers of new sites and objects came to be identifi ed as historically signifi cant and were set apart for commemoration.1 The range of meanings sought in the vestiges of the
1. Hiroba: The Public Square and the Boundaries of the Commons
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In 1939, as the war in Asia escalated and Japanese authorities increasingly repressed dissent at home, Marxist historian Hani Gorō- published a small paperback about Michelangelo. The book opened with a photo and description of Michelangelo’s “David.” Hani portrayed the artist himself as an underdog fi ghter for justice like the subject of his ...
2. Yanesen: Writing Local Community
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Perhaps no large city in the twentieth century was rebuilt as frequently and on as sweeping a scale as Tokyo. Yet piecemeal development changed the cityscape as profoundly as the catastrophic effects of the Great Kanto Earthquake in September 1923 and the firebombing in March 1945. It took the form seen in many other market-dominated ...
3. Deviant Properties: Street Observation Studies
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Another trajectory away from the politics of the public square and into the everyday city lay through personal appropriations of vestiges of the past found in the streets. Despite the inherent fragmentation of the masses that such a move implied, people could be mobilized into active publics around the personal and the intimate as well as the ...
4. Museums, Heritage, and Everyday Life
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Starting in the 1980s, museums in Tokyo began to collect everyday objects and reconstruct everyday scenes of the past. This was a new kind of public investment. It also established a new public commemorative language for Tokyo, built around the everyday and the ordinary. This new public history drew from a longer intellectual tradition of the study of everyday life, ...
Conclusion: History and Memory in a City without Monuments
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John Ruskin states the ethos of historical preservation in the epigraph above in stark terms. Presented in this categorical fashion, the imperative to preserve would bring history to a stop, leaving us with an untenable accumulation of detritus. We would have to become nomads to escape it.1 Of course, Ruskin was arguing primarily for preservation of ...
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Page Count: 222
Publication Year: 2013