Over the last year and a half or so, I’ve been putting together before and after photos of traditional old Tokyo homes, bars and little businesses that have sadly been demolished. Places full of stories that have now gone forever, plus in most cases the end result is like the buildings never even existed at all.
All that said, such changes aren’t unusual, and it’s probably fair to say that one shouldn’t get overly sentimental, but of late, the pace of destruction does seem to have quickened. The photos below, for example, were all taken in just the last few weeks.
Of course, whether deemed good or bad, new structures almost always replace the old ones, but for a short while at least, it’s often possible to see freshly exposed walls and buildings that very likely haven’t seen proper daylight in decades. Like scenes from the past suddenly thrust into a very uncertain future.
Really great series I can’t get enough of the first 2 and last 2!
Thanks a lot. Definitely a lot of details in those four. Always nice to get a Skytree contrast in too.
These buildings are super intriguing. It is the way of progress but I am very glad you are *saving* them.
They really are. So many layers and colours. Materials too. Yes, it is. Whether good or bad, that’s the way it will be…
Once an Expat says
When you think about it even the Shinto holy of holies, the Grand Ise Shrine is torn down every 20 years (and rebuilt of course).
But sadly, from your photo essays, I see post-war Showa being slowly and inexorably erased from physical and mental consciousness. Am told even Kyoto isn’t the city I knew decades ago.
It’s such a good point. If the likes of Ise Shrine can be torn down without trauma, then absolutely nothing stands a chance.
But yeah, places like those above are never rebuilt, they simply disappear — forever. For some people of course it’s seen as progress, and to be fair, when it comes to actually living in them, it most definitely is. Whether it’s progress in other terms, however, is somewhat more up for debate.
Amazing how dismal some of these old buildings look when they are exposed like that! And yet they are functional enough for people to live in them. Every corner of Tokyo gets used for something, eh?!?
They really are, aren’t they? Always interesting to see a building that looks quite nice from the front. Then when its neighbour is demolished you get to see how just old and rickety it really is.
But yeah. No land is left unused for that long.
I love how some backyards seen in this post seem to be perfect for kids to gather, play and experiment things.
Especialy photo number 9. I just decided that it’s now my kid’s gang gather spot.
I know eh? Even more so in a city that doesn’t have that much free space. And yet nobody every goes there. In fact, when I’ve gone on to such plots to take photos, the looks I’ve gotten have sometimes been quite something. Almost like I was breaking and entering.
I assume most or all of these being demolished are post-WW2 construction, which have now outlived their useful life.
Many of them yes, but by no means all of them. The second and last photos lost some comparatively modern buildings along with some older ones. Both have resulted in some big plots, especially by Tokyo standards, so be interesting to see what comes next.