Tokyo: A Certain Style

Tokyo: A Certain Style

by Kyoichi Tsuzuki

Ah, think of the serene gardens, tatami mats, Zen-inspired decor, sliding doors, and shoji screens of the typical Japanese home.

Tokyo: A Certain Style, the mini-sized decor book with a difference, shows how, for those living in one of the worlds most expensive and densely packed metropolises, closet-sized apartments stacked to the ceiling with gadgetry and CDs are the norm.

Photographer Kyoichi Tsuzuki rode his scooter all over Tokyo snapping shots of how urban Japanese really live.

Hundreds of photographs reveal the real Tokyo style: microapartments, mini and modular everything, rooms filled to the rafters with electronics, piles of books and clothes, clans of remote controls, collections of sundry objects all crammed into a space where every inch counts.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Cultural
  • Rating: 4.29
  • Pages: 440
  • Publish Date: September 1st 1999 by Chronicle Books
  • Isbn10: 0811824233
  • Isbn13: 9780811824231

Read the Book "Tokyo: A Certain Style" Online

(scan) Photography book of cluttered Tokyo apartments, illustrating messy everyday life and various approaches. (In comparison to my other two photograph books on hand, Lights Moon and 100 Suns, each page has 1/4 and 1/7th the area respectively; in practice, their photographs are larger because all notes are relegated to endnotes instead of fitting into cropped out rectangles next to the photos.) This makes details in the photos quite hard to make out even opening the book as flat as possible, and one will be sticking ones nose into it to examine spots. I picked up a used copy as part of my interest in MUJI and William Gibsons short essay Shiny Balls of Mud. Tsuzuki doesnt specify when the photos were taken or how they were selected that Ive found yet, but given the 1997 Japanese publication date and the most recent video game console I spotted being the SNES, it seems likely most of the photos postdate 1990 but predate December 1994 (the release of the very popular & distinctive-looking PlayStation 1). Some observations on looking through the photos: Tsuzuki describes Tokyo as being the living room of inhabitants, compensating for the tiny 1-room rabbit hutches. Aside from the common sharing of toilets in apartment buildings, many residents rely on public baths, convenience stores for miscellany, and small restaurants for food (one music critic is described as never eating at home, but simply eating elsewhere, as her heating pad is covered by a teapot and other stuff), laundromats or shared washing machines for clothing (using clothes lines for drying & storage) etc. hanging clothes lines over ones bed (making use of the dead vertical space, bunkbed-style), 3. the paper and electronics offer an interesting comparison with the 2017 present: you could replace something like a quarter of the contents of these apartments with a smartphone or tablet. (I notice in the photographs of 2019 Tokyo micro-apartments just how much they benefit from desktop computers+smartphones, even for creative types, in making tiny 9m spaces tolerable.) The vinyl records take up horrific amounts of space in some apartments as even 2 or 3 rows of records is equivalent to a futon, the cassettes arent much better, and the manga & books piled everywhere, but all of these can be digitized and streamed or stored on a smartphone with little or no loss. (Scanning my own books has saved me a great deal of space, and in many respects a scan is more useful.) Fax machines are obsolete everywhere except Japan and can be thrown out. Radios and boom boxes are obsoleted by smartphones, as are landlines and the giant chunky wireless phones and the answering machines and the grotesquely large 'word processor' I spotted in one room.

This little book is packed with living spaces, mostly small, some even just one room with kitchen corner.

Anyone who wants to see how average people in Tokyo live can look to this book as showing a big variety of the common man. Thank you so much for gifting me this book, Lisa......I loved it and it's a fine addition to my Japanese book collection!!!!

I have the original Japanese edition of this book, so I wasn't able to read all of the small paragraphs describing some of the photos, but they largely speak for themselves.

My husband and I had so much fun reading this little book when I brought it home.

My only complaint is about the binding of the book.