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A Spatial Anthropology

Hidenobu Jinnai (Author), Kimiko Nishimura (Translator)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 248 pages
ISBN: 9780520071353
August 1995
$63.00, £53.00
Tokyo: destroyed by the earthquake of 1923 and again by the firebombing of World War II. Does anything remain of the old city?

The internationally known Japanese architectural historian Jinnai Hidenobu set out on foot to rediscover the city of Tokyo. Armed with old maps, he wandered through back alleys and lanes, trying to experience the city's space as it had been lived by earlier residents. He found that, despite an almost completely new cityscape, present-day inhabitants divide Tokyo's space in much the same way that their ancestors did two hundred years before.

Jinnai's holistic perspective is enhanced by his detailing of how natural, topographical features were incorporated into the layout of the city. A variety of visual documents (maps from the Tokugawa and Meiji periods, building floorplans, woodblock prints, photographs) supplement his observations. While an important work for architects and historians, this unusual book will also attract armchair travelers and anyone interested in the symbolic uses of space.

(A translation of Tokyo no kûkan jinruigaku.)
Foreword, by Richard Bender
1. The High City: Surface and Depths
2. The Cosmology of a City of Water
3. The Rhetoric of the Modern City
4. Modernism and Its Urban Forms
Jinnai Hidenobu is Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at Hosei University in Tokyo.
"The sheer physical extent of Tokyo, its mile upon mile of high-density and mostly low-rise development, seemingly without topographic or maritime memory, makes it a difficult city for many Westerners to understand. We suspect that the same may be so for many Japanese. Jinnai Hidenobu shows us how today's Tokyo is rooted in its early development and how today's streets, waterways, land uses, and building types come from a past that remains visible to those who would care to look. One needs to walk or to row with Jinnai to see how yesterday makes today. His is a work of love that ties generations together in their physical environment."—Allan B. Jacobs, author of Great Streets

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