Research Projects

Edo-Tokyo's Uniqueness

Project Leader

Yokoyama Yasuko

Born in 1965. Specializes in Japanese pre-modern and modern ghost-story culture. Graduated Doctoral Course, International Christian University Graduate School. Doctor of Philosophy. Awarded Japanese Classical Literature Society Prize for Eda-Tokyo no Kaidan Bunka no Seiritsu to Hensen: Jyukyu Seiki o Chushin ni, 1997, Kazamashobo. Other works include Kida wa Kataru, Hanshichi wa Hashiru, 2002, KYOIKU-SHUPPAN, and Yokai Tejina no Jidai, 2012, SEIKYUSHA 


Awareness of Musashino in research of the Edo-Tokyo area

What is unique about Edo-Tokyo? 

Our team has made the decision to tackle this great issue. Uniqueness means rarity, or individuality. Uniqueness has advantages as well as disadvantages. Considering the uniqueness of Edo-Tokyo will hopefully lead to discovering, preserving and making good use of the value of the city. At the same time, problems particular to Edo-Tokyo will reveal themselves, but thinking of ways towards their solution is what we uphold in our University Charter: "Practical Wisdom for Freedom". 

We aim to engage the entire project in fruitful research of the uniqueness of Edo-Tokyo from its close relationship with natural conditions. The issue of Edo-Tokyo and nature has hitherto been the realm of the Laboratory of Regional Design with Ecology, but with the addition of the Research Center for International Japanese Studies' group of scholars of various specialties within the arts, whilst developing deeper discussion, our goal is to restore the results of our research to society. 

Philosopher Watsuji Tetsuro in his Climate and Culture, in a comparison with other cities around the world, said of Tokyo, "Due to its size, a global example of an ailing metropolis". He also considered Tokyo a "rare phenomenon" from various aspects. Now that the Western European city model has faded, Watsuji's negative view can in fact be considered a superior characteristic. Tokyo's sprawl did not begin in the modern age; it was already the case in the days when it was known as "Edo". In fact, Edo-Tokyo's ability to boast the size of a great metropolis was largely due to natural conditions. 

Eda-Tokyo of before the pre-modern era, seen from aspects of the natural environment, was a theme raised in a symposium held in January, 2018: "Edo-Tokyo's Foundations: Reexamining the Ancient and Medieval Landscape". 

In addition, we will carry out research on the theme of "Research of Famous Places and Scenery in Edo-Tokyo", from pre-modern times onwards. There are numerous famous places over the breadth of Edo-Tokyo. We will plot the history of Edo-Tokyo's famous places as symbolized in geographies and guidebooks, landscape pictures, art and literature, maps etc. revealing clues to discovering the uniqueness of present-day Tokyo. We are planning a symposium on Climate and Culture, and regular study groups, and research from diverse viewpoints will emanate from our organization of academic members. 

From its outset, Hosei University Library has been in possession of fundamental material such as the "Edo Bunko": collected histories and geographies of Tokyo city, "Tama Chiiki Shiryo": a collection of histories etc. of the cities, towns and villages in the Tama region, and the "Watsuji Tetsuro Bunko (Library)". Whilst putting it to effective use, we will sort the material in preparation for making it public in time for the opening of the Hosei Museum. We also plan to create themed maps for enjoying walking around Tokyo, and consider other ways to learn from history about Edo-Tokyo's uniqueness, and bring it to life in the present day. 

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