Monday, June 14, 2010

"20-78 - A Look Back in the Okuno Building"

The Okuno Building in Ginza was constructed about 78 years ago and I have a video exhibition/installation there now showing views of Tokyo 20 years ago (until the 19th).  Sitting in room 306, where the last tenant, Ms. Suda, lived until her death at 100 years of age in 2009, time and the passage of it are very much on my mind.  Just the past 20 years have brought about more change in Tokyo than you might think, but once you take a close look at pictures taken in 1990 (with some in 1991), it becomes apparent that you're looking at a different generation.

Analyzing that, it begins to make sense when you realize that someone 25 years old in 1990 is 45 now, and a baby in 1990 is 20 now.  It's a new set of young human beings walking around on the streets, and the previous young generation,  now middle-aged, are changed with life experience and aging, so everyone is different.  Add in Tokyo's Godzilla construction industry which never, ever, tires of tearing down anything older than two or three decades, and Tokyo 2010 is not the same city as Tokyo 1990.

That said, how about 1932, when the Okuno Building was built?  The 306-Project team is currently diligently looking into Ms. Suda's past, but almost all traces of former addresses (where she ran a chain a beauty parlors) have vanished beneath name changes, road building, etc., and when someone lives to be 100 years old, and died over a year ago, it's highly unlikely any of their friends are still alive.  If 20 years ago is one generation back, then 78 is nearly four generations back, and that's pretty much a whole different world.

One last comment.  Japan is currently in the "Heisei" era, which began in 1989.  An older woman yesterday, while watching my video from 1990, commented that it looked to her like a look back at the Showa era.  I hadn't thought of it that way until she told me that, but I think I agree.  No time to explain exactly why right now, but I agree.

And... here's a video I took on the 3rd floor of the Okuno Building, which shows the hallways and stairwells there, and then has a look into room 306:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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