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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10928/192

Title: Nagai Kafu^¯ 's Reflections on Urban Beauty in Hiyorigeta : Reappraising Tokyo's Back Alleys and Waterways
Authors: Schulz, Evelyn
Issue Date: Nov-2011
Publisher: 成蹊大学アジア太平洋研究センター
Abstract: Edo's urban fabric was originally made up of roji districts, i.e. of narrow multifunctional alleyways leading through small-scale, gradually developed residential and business areas. An extensive network of waterways of rivers, canals and streams traversed the city and connected it to the bay. However, during the 20th century, much of Tokyo's space was exploited to serve capital accumulation, causing rapid change of the cityscape and urban environment and of their representation in various media. While the advocates of Western-style urban modernization regarded both the roji and the waterways as an obstacle to modernity, their opponents reconfigured them as counter-spaces to modernization. Until the late 1990s most roji had become erased from the cityscape and tended to be sidelined in urban discourse. However, in recent years Tokyo's waterways and roji areas have become part of the discussion about sustainable urban planning relating to urban amenity, to community centered street space and to the preservation of local culture and urban landscape. The recent reevaluation of the works by Nagai Kafu^¯ (1879-1959) can be viewed in this light. Kafu^¯ became famous for his particular lifestyle and for his explorative attitude towards Tokyo. He wrote many literary works depicting Tokyo's transformation from a critical standpoint, which was sustained by his experience of five years spent in North America and France. By searching for the familiar and authentic, Kafu^¯ investigated those aspects, which in his opinion represented Edo’s beauty and were in danger of being completely destroyed. In particular his essay Hiyorigeta (Fairweather Clogs) anticipates some aspects of the current rediscovery of Tokyo's roji and waterways.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10928/192
Appears in Collections:No.36

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