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Ghost Town

Ghost Town

Tokyo 2005 and Beyond

With neither the prosperity shared by rich and poor alike in London; the afternoon nap that allows for quiet introspection in Vienna; the realization of an ever-present past in Milan; the hectic fureur of Shanghai; the greed of Beijing; the cheerful confusion of Seoul; the somber quiet of Hanoi; and the almost painfully bright lights of Manila. Nor with the now safe, and some say boring, feel of New York where snobs still ignore the disorder of the city’s living theater of capitalism – Tokyo remains immured. I wonder, is this because Tokyo lives as fast as its racing residents in dark clouds of consumer economics that dominate the scene?

When I speak about Tokyo as it is today, I think of a certain scholar who referred to different centuries with unique pathologies. For the 19th century, it was self-destruction tendencies; the 20th century was depression brought on by excessive self-analysis; and the 21st century brought an obsession with boundaries. It’s an interesting theory.

After all, this may reflect the abasement of larger units: the family, the groups or the community associated with the individual as he or she moves through the world without an awareness of boundaries and without a long-term understanding of their cultural background.

Perhaps future creativity will, without limit, come closer to an approximation for community in human lifestyles as we see it happening in the current surge of new religions.

“Deep beneath all of this, there is a development of undefined traces of spirits moving freely and trapped in a phase akin to early childhood where the individual knows neither whence nor where he or she is progressing. Let us imagine this notion as a component of the Tokyo scene from 2005 onward”

Ryu Niimi
Professor of Art and Cultural Studies, Design History, Museum Theory, Tokyo Musashino Art University


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