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  4. An Introduction to the Plan for the Tokyo Cultural Resources District

2015 Vol.4
An Introduction to the Plan for the Tokyo Cultural Resources District

Why Did Meiji Period Intellectuals Roam Tokyo?


The Tokyo Cultural Resources District refers to an area northeast of central Tokyo which includes Jinbocho, Kanda, Akihabara, Yushima, Hongo, Ueno, Yanesen, and Negishi. The area is mostly contained within a two-kilometer radius around the Yushima Tenman-gu Shrine and thus is walkable. World-class cultural resources, some of which date back to the Edo Period, are concentrated in the Tokyo Cultural Resources District. Jinbocho represents publishing culture with its used bookstore district and publishing companies. Kanda represents civil culture, inheriting the character of the people of Edo as seen in the Kanda Festival (kanda-Matsuri). Akihabara represents pop culture associated with comic books and cartoons. Yushima represents spiritual culture attributed to the Yushima Tenman-gu Shrine and Yushima Seido (sacred hall). Hongo represents academic culture ascribed to the University of Tokyo. Ueno represents artistic culture as seen in its museums and the Tokyo University of the Arts. Yanesen presents a traditional lifestyle with its townscape consisting of merchant houses (machiya) and alleyways that survived the Great Kanto Earthquake and World War II. Negishi is rich in colloquial literature, which is preserved by the Negishi Cultural Village and other entities. With the exception of the elevated areas in Ueno, the Tokyo Cultural Resources District includes many traditional working-class neighborhoods (shitamachi) with small, irregular plots, and so was not a target for the large-scale redevelopment projects that occurred in Japan’s period of rapid economic growth. For this reason, the district has maintained its value as an archive of various world-class cultural resources like those described above. This paper proposes an Edo mansions (edo yashiki) project as a creative policy for the culturally rich Tokyo Cultural Resources District. In this project, building renovations will be conducted after end users are identified and after the business model is developed.