2017 No.22

Tokyo, a 400-Year Narrative


Tokyo: Dynamic Urban Regeneration

1 2

War, natural disasters and major changes over the years have all been part of the history experienced by the metropolis, which is always ready to redevelop and reinvent itself. These photos offer a decade-by-decade comparison of Tokyo and an idea of the dramatic changes that have taken place since the early 1900s.

Then and Now—A Century Time Slip

The black and white photograph below was taken in 1904, more than 110 years ago, with a camera sent aloft on a balloon. It is reputedly the first aerial photo taken in Japan. The buildings laid out in an orderly fashion in the center foreground were in the Ginza district. Trees occupy a large area (background, center) around the Imperial Palace, just as they do today. The buildings grouped in a somewhat triangular fashion in the left foreground were around Shimbashi Station.
The two photos demonstrate how buildings have stretched upward and the city has expanded outward.
(Old photo, taken in 1904: JCII Camera Museum; New photo: Getty Images)