Why and how has Tokyo experienced a huge increase in the number of high-rise buildings, called “tower-block gentrification” by P. Waley, in a relatively short period? This article analyzes the historical process of the city's vertical expansion since the 1980s, by showing four step-by-step stages of speculation on real estate. During the 1980s, that is, “economic bubble” era, Tokyo witnessed a sudden big wave of redevelopment (Step 1). Inner-city working community with old factories and warehouses were invaded and destroyed by capital. Yet, after the burst of the bubble in the early 90s, a sharp downturn of land price hit real estate market. Alternately, local governments entered into high-rise construction, pushed by “crisis-driven” deregulation and neoliberal private-public partnership policy (Step 2). And then, a turning point was marked in the history of Tokyo's building construction. During the first decade of the new century twice number of high-rise buildings were finished as in 1990-99. Such a change was accelerated by the mixture of financialization of real estate market, state-led neoliberal policy, and making of ʻlivable city' image fitting to differentially gentrified high-rise buildings (Step 3). Global financial crisis in 2007-8 hit local market, resulting in the failure of nearly all independent agents for realestate financialization. In the 2010s, high-rise construction began to increase again after a break, pushed by back-to-city migration, state-led “special zone” policy, and the boom of 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. But the market structure has changed, becoming more oligopolistic (Step 4). Four top real estate company groups occupied more than a third of newly established high-rise buildings. It is unclear whether such a process of transformation might be unique to Japanese cities or not. Tokyo has to survive with a huge number of tower-block constructions.
In Japan, expansion of economic disparity started at about 1980. This expansion was accompanied by the polarization of Metropolitan Areas. In Tokyo, economic disparity of 23 wards expanded rapidly in 80s. However this disparity reduced temporarily in first half of 90s, because of collapse of bubble economy, expanded again in last half of 90s, and expansion continues until today. In this processes of expansion of economic disparity, socio-spatial structure of Tokyo has changed. On the base of 4-classes scheme, which consists of capitalist, new middle, working and old middle classes, these changes are analysed. From 80s, old middle class dramatically decreased in whole area of Tokyo, especially in central and inner city areas. And in 90s, capitalist class started to decrease in whole area of Tokyo, especially in central area. In these processes, composition of old middle class and capitalist class changed, from family business to one-man management and corporate business. In the result, population of central and inner city area decreased in 80s and 90s. In 00s, new middle class started to flow in central and inner city areas. They filled up the blank of old middle class and small capitalist class, and became the new central player of Tokyo. However this chain of processes can be called gentrification, in the sence that there was some time lag between the exit of old player and emergence of new player, this may be called ‘time-lagged gentrification', which means bloodless revolution by new middle class.
This paper focuses on the local people's reaction and community movement against the agents' assault of buying up small plots of land around Tokyo downtown areas for consolidation and resale during the period of 1980s bubble economy in Japan. At first I describe the research method and fact-findings of our field survey we did at that time around Tokyo downtown areas. Landscape and social change of those neighborhoods was so drastic and so huge that the transformation of those neighborhoods was thought to be directly related to the fundamental industrial and cultural change toward so to speak an international and information-oriented society. In some areas local people couldn't do anything against those agents' working scheme, but in some other areas community people's effort to continue living seemed to be partly successful regardless of the landscape change. So we could categorize those neighborhoods into several groups based on the location of the neighborhood in the city and community's cooperative effort, and social effects of the urban renewal process were different from group to group. The population of those neighborhoods had continued to decrease for more than thirty years due to the so-called donut phenomenon, but since 1995 (i.e. several years after the babble economy), the population has increased there because, corresponding to people's tendency for living in city centers, conditions of the residential area have been improved and an increasing number of condominiums have been constructed. After describing the mechanism of those changes, I discuss what social meanings those changes of social atmosphere had in the long run.
Mr. Hiroshi Suzuki is one of founders of Urban Sociology in Japan. In this paper, I trace Suzukiʼs urban studies and inquire a key of cumulative development of Urban Sociology in Japan. The characteristic of Suzukiʼs urban studies is strong theoretical orientation. These studies were conducted on the basic way of thinking; that is, theory of general society → presentation of analytical framework → comparative study and typology → construction of theory of middle range → generalization of research findings. He had deal with diverse research topics. These all topics were connected with rapid urbanization of Japanese society which he had experienced. In this sense, his researches were analysis of the actual social condition and a sort of clinical diagnosis. But analysis of the actual social condition is not good enough for cumulative development of Urban Sociology. For cumulative development of Urban Sociology, we need to refine basic concept of urban studies (for example; community, social structure of city etc.), at some time clinical study. We also need to educate our ability to make the question to the present urban social phenomenon.
This study explores Michihiro Okudaʼs contributions to urban studies using his concept of community. Further, it criticizes this concept from a globalization perspective. The study reviews the development of Okudaʼs urban studies as a whole from the 1960s to 2000s. This review highlights changes in the meaning of his concept of community as well as how his interest in urban studies has always focused on social processes and social interactions of the people in urban settings. This basic property of Okudaʼs urban studies should be followed by urban sociological scholars. From the standpoint of globalization, however, his focus on social processes in everyday life without a framework for structural and institutional aspects sets a significant limit for urban studies. Globalization has various effects on everyday life and universally conditions them through local and central government institutions. Limiting the study to concrete and particular aspects of social processes without referring to their structure and institution would hinder accounting for problems caused by capitalistic social relations under neoliberal globalization. We, thus, shed light on the concrete and particular forms of universality as perceived from the perspective of structural aspect of capitalistic social relations and institutional aspect of state power. We go beyond Okudaʼs urban studies to the comparative studies of everyday urban life as particular forms of universality set by neoliberal globalization to make clear the differences and commonalities of community life in cities across the world.
Recently, many urban researchers have shown an interest in mega-events, such as the Olympic Games, the football World Cup, and world expositions, because many cities around the world are eager to host and hold such events. This academic trend is closely related to the political and economic conditions of the cities in the age of global inter-urban competitions. Furthermore, holding mega-events provides an opportunity to develop or redevelop infrastructures in the city in which the event is being held. In Tokyo, the Olympic Games will be held for the second time in 2020. A Korean city, Pyeongchang, will host the Winter Olympics in 2018. For reconsidering the urban meanings of hosting and holding mega-events in East Asian cities, the Japan Association for Urban Sociology (JAUS) planned and coordinated the Japan–Korea Joint Session on the theme of “Mega-event and the City,” in the 34th JAUS Annual Meeting, held at Bukkyo University, Kyoto, in September 2016. In this session, a Korean sociologist, Professor Yi Hyun-Seo, analyzed the discourses of the organizing committee, the local governments, and the civil society in a bid to conduct Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018. Dr. Kim Eun-Hye, another Korean presenter, argued to point out the relations between the holding of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, the redevelopment projects in the city, and the rise of a new middle class in the country. The third presentation by a Japanese urban sociologist, Professor Matsubayashi Hideki, made a focal point regarding the urban legacies related to the holding of the Olympic Games using a case study of the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. Through these presentations, the session provided animated and fruitful discussions pertaining not only to a process analysis of applying as a candidate and hosting mega-events but also to the post-holding of legacy studies.
This study explores the relation between sports mega-events and the making of Gangnam in South Korea after the 1980s. This paper comprises a historical examination of urban planning processes and a case study focusing on the strategies and experiences of residents who has been purchasing apartments. The hosting of 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Olympics triggered construction business, such as urban infrastructure and increasing housing supply. In particular, Jam-sil, Seoul was the site of huge construction projects that entailed the main stadium, Olympic parks, and athletesʼ villages. The structure of housing supply has a shift from state-led development to property-led development, namely, the Joint Redevelopment Program (JRP). The term Gangnamization is a concept used to describe a strong relationship among apartment, education fever, and shopping center for the urban middle class. However, the research results suggest that speculative urbanization in urban middle class will lead to a financial crisis.
In this study, we examine the expansion in the post-2000 period of shopping street activation within the Miyuki-dori shopping street (Ikuno Korea Town) in Ikuno Ward of Osaka City. We also examined the relationship between shopping street and multicultural coexistence entailed in town planning. A first key finding of the study was that commencing from the 2000s, shopping street association has played a major role in revitalizing Ikuno Korea Town. Many shopkeepers have roots in Korea establishing in Japan. Several shopping districts with shops owned by individuals belonging to diverse ethnic groups have sprouted up in Ikuno Korea Town and all over the city. Under these circumstances, a local network has been established that extends beyond the vicinity of the shopping street. This study found that immigration and generational changes had led to the establishment of shopping street in Ikuno Korea Town. A second key finding of the study was that the development of increasingly commercial attitudes among shoppers can be linked to town development that has entailed the promotion of multicultural coexistence. In other words, town planning specifically fosters commercial activities, which constitute the basis and rationale of activities like street shopping. This is because fostering multicultural coexistence in the town is necessary to reduce conflicts shop owners within shopping street association and avoid political tensions. These town planning measures have resulted in Ikuno Korea Town becoming a model example of multicultural coexistence. However, as the study demonstrates town planning has in fact been a necessity in Ikuno Korea Town.
This study sheds light on the dynamics associated with the deployment of the “multicultural coexistence” discourse by minorities that has received little scholarly attention. Specifically, it proposes a new research perspective for studies on multicultural coexistence. Growing social awareness and institutionalized promotion of multicultural coexistence in Japan reflects advancing progress toward a more multicultural society. However, previous studies have critiqued the deployment of this discourse by majorities to camouflage their dominance over minorities. While these critiques importantly highlight the risk of misuse, they can unintentionally reduce the benefits of sustaining the discourse, by impeding the introduction of measures for improving the social conditions of minorities. This study seeks to elucidate the potentially positive elements of the discourse by examinning how it is generated and used by three minority actors within the same community: a new Korean school, an Islamic mosque, and “Burakumin,” a culturally defined ethnic Japanese minority group. The transformations resulting from encounters among these three actors are the subject of this study. The main findings can be summarized as follows. First, the “multicultural coexistence” discourse was generated on the ground through positive relationships forged among these three minority actors. Second, these actors strategically deployed this discourse to revitalize the weakened local social network, encourage the majority-dominated society to revise their stigmatizing perceptions of them, and promote systemic reform leading to their improved social status. This study’s findings are significant, shedding light on the strategic deployment of the “multicultural coexistence” discourse by minorities. They importantly introduce a bi-directional perspective that can be applied in analyses of the use of the “multiculutral coexistence” discourse in interactions between majority and minority groups. Moreover, they highlight the importance of clarifying the positive aspects of this discourse that can foster cognitive and systematic changes required for developing a more inclusive society.
This study examines the level of acceptance of the “community” concept and its application by urban planners in postwar Japan. It specifically analyzes the community discourse propounded by a leading Japanese urban planner, Tadashi Higasa (1920-1997). After sketching his biography, it presents a review of his research activities at the Department of Urban Planning, Ministry of Construction, and the Department of Urban Engineering at the University of Tokyo. In addition, the development, practical application, and acceptance of Higasa's community concept are analyzed. Based on the findings of the analysis, two key points are clarified. First, Higasa's community concept can be seen to have been strongly influenced by community concepts within sociology. Second, within the domain of urban planning research, acceptance of Higasa's community concept and its practical applications are evident within community and residential district planning. While conforming to the community concept within sociology, Higasa postulated his own theory of community considered within the framework of urban planning. While not neglecting the notion of community based on human life, he sought to integrate the community concept within practical and tangible urban planning. In conclusion, the findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of how Higasa's successors in the field of urban planning related to his community concept and to a rethinking of the community concept among Japanese sociologists.