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Mirrors of Memory

Culture, Politics, and Time in Paris and Tokyo

James W. White

Publication Year: 2011

As society becomes more global, many see the world’s great cities as becoming increasingly similar. But while contemporary cultures do depend on and resemble each other in previously unimagined ways, homogenization is sometimes overestimated. In his compelling new book, James W. White considers how two of the world’s great cities, Paris and Tokyo, may appear to be growing more alike--both are vast, modern, dominating, capitalist cities--but in fact remain profoundly different places.

Published by: University of Virginia Press

Contents

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pp. v-

List of Tables and Figures

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

This work represents for me a departure from a scholarly career hitherto spent almost exclusively in, and on, East Asia. In its pursuit I have therefore, far more than has previously been the case, relied on the kindness of strangers. Many old colleagues did give me advice and encouragement along the way, including Henry D. Smith, Kurasawa Susumu, William...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-26

A Parisian in Tokyo, or a Tokyoite in Paris, will find much there that is familiar. Huge cities, embedded in yet bigger metropolitan regions, both are busy, vibrant, clearly prosperous, stimulating, and at the cutting edge of modernity, or postmodernity. Both are capitalist cities, brimming with consumer goods and leisure opportunities; both are “global cities”: cosmo-...

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1. Views of the Capital: Walking and Reading the City

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pp. 27-43

In this chapter, I spin out descriptively some of the impressions offered in the introduction. Most of them will not surprise those who have visited either Tokyo or Paris, although most visitors will also be able to cite exceptions to the differences between the two cities. So can I. As noted in the introduction, anything visible in or said of Tokyo can probably be seen in...

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2. Form and Pattern in the City

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pp. 44-78

Studies of the origins, developmental trajectories, and contemporary shapes of cities are legion. Politics, economics, and religion dominate the discussion, and they certainly play a role in any effort to understand the differences between Paris and Tokyo. But by themselves those three are unsatisfying, partly because each begs further questions of origin and evolution. ...

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3. From Center to Periphery

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pp. 79-103

In addition to the overall impressions gained from a walking tour of Paris and Tokyo, different parts of the cities appear different in form and function, and in the minds of the citizens as well. Four aspects of the center-periphery continuum strike one most sharply: differences in the city centers; the differing clarity of the edges of both the city and the metropolitan...

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4. The Manipulated City

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pp. 104-131

Paris, far more than Tokyo, has been the play thing of its rulers, a canvas upon which national goals and personal egos have been brushed with broad strokes. But why might this be so? Both Japan and France have often had regimes which have guided, regulated, and shaped society and economy. Why might the city — the capital, even — have escaped the manipulative...

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5. Monuments and Commemorations

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pp. 132-150

Strolling along the wide plazas of Paris, one can admire the arches, statues, and souvenirs of conquest and read the city’s history in the commemorative structures in which it is so rich. And, reading Western literature on monuments, one feels that, of course, this is how a capital city should be: “A city is not transformed simply because one modifies its streets and...

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6. The Capital Envisioned

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pp. 151-180

This tour of Paris and Tokyo has been thus far literally an ego trip: I have recounted, and tried to interpret, some of the visual characteristics of the two cities as a visitor might see them. But how these cities have grown has been determined by how others see them. There is more to form than topography, technology, war, disaster, and diplomacy; more to...

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7. Capital, Context, Country

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pp. 181-208

Paris and Tokyo not only look different; not only are they regarded differently by inside and outside observers; they also get along differently with the world around them. My initial impression is that all of Paris’s relationships — with the French nation, the state, and its own suburbs — are more problematic than is the case in Tokyo. For Paris, these relationships have...

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Conclusion

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pp. 209-229

A city mirrors its past. Sometimes — especially in the enduring center of Paris — it looks more like its crystallization. The center of Tokyo looks more kaleidoscopic. Both impressions are misleading. The past is fluid— the French Revolution and the Meiji Restoration, for example, are shape-shifters — and even if the bricks and mortar do not change, their...

Notes

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pp. 231-258

Bibliography

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pp. 259-274

Index

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pp. 275-286


E-ISBN-13: 9780813930794
E-ISBN-10: 0813930790
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813930701
Print-ISBN-10: 0813930707

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 30 b&w illus., 5 maps, 2 tables
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Tokyo (Japan) -- Civilization.
  • Sociology, Urban -- Japan -- Tokyo.
  • Paris (France) -- Civilization.
  • Architecture and society -- France -- Paris.
  • Architecture and society -- Japan -- Tokyo.
  • Sociology, Urban -- France -- Paris.
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