Departmental Bulletin Paper Situated Urban Rituals : Rethinking the Meaning and Practice of Micro Culture in Cities in East Asia

IMAI, Heide

2pp.41 - 58 , 2016-03 , Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies, Hosei University
Contemporary cities, especially in Japan, have reach an indescribable complexity and excessive, global investments blur fonual, rooted structures. Modem urban agglomerationsblindly trust a macro-understanding, whereas everyday activities which portray the human degree of living space are being suppressed and erased. The paper will draw upon the 'MicroUrbanism' approach that focuses on the sensitive and indigenous side of contemporary cities, which in fact can hold the authentic qualities of a city. Related to this approach is the tenn 'Micro-Culture' ·which is used to clarify the itmer realities of the everyday living space on theexample of the Japanese urban backstTeet. The paper identifies an example of a 'micro-zone' in terms of 'street space', originally embedded in the landscape of the Japanese city. And although the 'Micro-Urbanism' approach is more complex, the understanding of the term can be tackled by a social analysis of the stTeet. This is exemplified through the backstTeets called roji and closely linked examples of 'situated' urban rituals like (1) urban festivities, (2) localmarkets/ street vendors and (3) artistic, intellectual tactics. Likewise, the paper offers insights into a 'community of streets' which boundaries are especially shaped by cultural activity and social networks.

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