Tokyo is the political, cultural, and economic center of Japan. It is currently home to 13.5 million people, one-tenth of Japan’s population, with the Greater Tokyo metropolitan area housing over 37 million people. It is also ranked 4th on the 2020 Global Cities Index. Since its founding 400 years ago as Edo, the castle headquarters of the Tokugawa shoguns, the city has been reinvented and reimagined multiple times—as the birthplace of Japan’s early modern urban culture, imperial capital for a newly created nation-state, center of modern consumer culture, metropole for an expanding empire in East Asia, site of urban protests and postwar democracy in action, and postmodern megalopolis.
Team Tokyo has been investigating different aspects of the city over time (urban planning, infrastructure/transportation, neighborhood communities/identities, etc.) and how the city has been imagined in art, architecture, literature, film, popular culture, food, and fashion from the end of the Edo period to the present day. Having endured political upheavals, fires, earthquakes, fire-bombings, and unbridled development, Tokyo has always been a complex subject constantly being made and remade. We use that complexity to engage in interdisciplinary and multimodal thinking.