Demolition danger: Traditional Japanese architecture under threat in Tokyo district

Preservation faces a lot of obstacles in this area, from the law to limited urban space for developers.

A cedar stands over buildings in the Yanaka district. Photo credit: Daderot, Wikimedia Commons.
July 09, 2014

Oddly enough, a tree has become the center of efforts to conserve traditional architecture in Tokyo's historic Yanaka district. The 90-year-old Himalayan cedar stands on a plot purchased by an Osaka-based real estate agent. Residents are trying to block plans to bulldoze the plot as part of an ongoing effort to preserve the neighborhood. 
 
The Yanaka area is unique because it is home to so many buildings which survived both the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and World War II. The cedar plot currently up for bulldozing is surrounded by buildings from the Edo Period (1603–1867), the Taisho Era (1912-1926) and the early Showa Era (1926-1989). The Tokyo University of the Arts performed a survey showing that wooden buildings dating to 1964 or earlier in and around Yanaka have dropped in number from 748 in 1986 to 4016 in 2012. 
 
Read the full story at The Asahi Shimbun.
         
 

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