a The Transit Lounge: The Brutal Truth

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Tuesday, September 22

The Brutal Truth

The mishmash of the the modern and ancient worlds in Japan thoroughly intrigues me. They seem to co-exist peacefully in a culture and way of life full of contradictions. Tourists often expect the notions that typically define Japan for outsiders, such as geisha, sushi and samurai to be set against a backdrop of zen gardens strewn with cherry blossom trees or on lantern lit alleys. Yet more often than not, it is the complete opposite and people are rather unexpectedly introduced to brutal reality that everyday Japan now lives within. And when I say brutal, I mean it literally.

Due to the amount of damage sustained by Japan during WW2 bombings, as well as frequent earthquakes and landslide activity that also damaged traditional construction, the desire to replace the more traditional style of building with construction of a much more stronger and solid type was great. Steel prevailed over wood in just about all building and construction. With the introduction of Western attitudes, design, styles and materials Japanese construction between the 1950s and 1980s took on the form of what was popular elsewhere in the world at that time - which, for both good and bad reasons, happened to be brutalism. During no time in Japan is this more evident than during the lead up to the 1964 Olympic Games held in Tokyo. Just about all the sporting arenas and fields used for these games are of a brutalist nature.

The first photo was taken at Yoyogi Stadium in Tokyo, built between 1961 and 1964.

The bottom two photos were taken in the Komizawa Olympic Park.

Note the brutalist take on the traditional pagoda design below.

This brutalist boom came to an end as the bubble burst, making way for the post-modern era in Japan - which has also paved an interesting path for the old colliding with the new.

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Anonymous Sally said...

So much for Zen culture - peace, harmony and nature and stuff!

1:51 pm


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