NYT on 東京タワー

MARTIN FACKLER “Beacon of Japan’s Future, Sparkling With Nostalgia” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/world/asia/30tokyo.html


While it never gained the global recognition of its Parisian twin or the Statue of Liberty, the tower remains a landmark in this now affluent, sprawling city. But after a half century, the aging spire is no longer as prominent, or inspiring, as it once was.

Tokyo Tower turned 50 last week amid a wave of nostalgic national media coverage. Television news showed grainy black-and-white film of the tower, describing it as part of a bygone era of heady achievements that also included Japan’s bullet train and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Indeed, the tower seems to have won a new place in the national imagination, this time as a monument to a sepia-toned past. The change comes at a time when Japan as a whole seems to have lost confidence in its future, or has even resigned itself to slow decline.

The change also underscores a broader point: how the passage of time can shift the meaning of national symbols — even ones as large as Tokyo Tower.

Before his death in 1986, the tower’s creator, Hisakichi Maeda, a former owner of the right-leaning newspaper Sankei Shimbun, called the soaring structure “a triumph of Japanese technology.” The tower cost $8.4 million at the time and used scrapped Korean War tanks, one of the few sources of quality steel at the time.

The recent nostalgia boom has led to a revival in the tower’s popularity. After more than a decade of slowly dwindling visitors, the number has risen by roughly 50 percent in the past three years to some 3.2 million last year, Nippon City said.

This nostalgia boom has partly been fueled by a flurry of recent novels and movies that featured the tower. (One of its first cinematic appearances was in “Mothra,” a 1961 black-and-white monster film in which the tower was toppled by a giant caterpillar.)

In the recent books and films, the tower often appears as a metaphor for what this graying nation feels it has lost in recent decades: the shared sense of purpose and youthful optimism that drove its economic miracle, or even the simpler lifestyles before Japan became an economic superpower.

Fackler氏は東京タワーに関する映像として『モスラ』に言及しているが*1、私は『ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日』を巡って、

モスラ [DVD]

モスラ [DVD]

ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日 豪華版 [DVD]

ALWAYS 三丁目の夕日 豪華版 [DVD]