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2014.5.22

Urban Culture and Private Railways in Tokyo

2014.5.22/講師:Shino Maeshima, Mariko Osawa, Miki Toyofuku
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This semester, the Globalization Office held a three-part special seminar series called “Urban Culture and Private Railways in Tokyo,” which was led by Professor Maeshima, Professor Osawa, and Professor Toyofuku.  Students were offered the chance to explore three very different hubs in Tokyo: Eifukucho, Den-en-chofu, and Shibuya.  Each portion of the seminar began with informative lectures given by each instructor about the history of the area they would later visit, which encouraged students to view the area from several different angles and perspectives.  In addition, the lectures focused particularly on the relationship between the development of the railway and that of the city.
Then the students were split into teams to conduct fieldwork in their respective areas, and on the final day of each unit, the students presented their findings to the rest of the class, emphasizing the wide variety of interpretations that can be drawn from a single area.

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They were assigned tasks and goals to guide their exploration, such as having to imagine ways to further develop or improve the area or having to create a guide for foreign tourists featuring various points of interest.  The students demonstrated great insight and creativity in writing up their final reports, of which two are featured below.

Trinh Xuan Truong and his team explored the West Shibuya area and analyzed its standout characteristics and its potential for future development.  His final report can be viewed here.

On the opposite side of the station, Sahasika Prabaswara and his team searched for interesting places to visit in the East Shibuya area.  His list featured many hidden gems that would be great for anyone who is interested in visiting Shibuya.  His list of East Shibuya highlights can be viewed here.

Lastly, the Eifukucho-inspired character below was designed by Hiroki Kawamoto, who incorporated the kanji characters for Eifukucho (永福町) into the face and collar of the cat, called "manekineko."  

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Thank you to all who participated in this very special and unique seminar, and we hope that students at the University of Tokyo will continue to explore their surroundings with curiosity, creativity, and a critical eye.

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