Andrew’s world in Japan 2018/April

Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring the creative process & connecting with other creative people.

Breathing Fresh Breath Into An Urban Space –
How Marunouchi was reinvented

About a 4-minute walk from the high-end photo print sales business YellowKorner is the historically significant building named after the district it resides in, Shin Marunouchi Building. The space is and has always been strictly controlled and organized. A 17-minute walk from the building is the even more historically important Imperial Palace. This area has been a central part of Edo Tokyo since its very beginning. Tokyo is today packed with endless opportunities, and on any given day without intention, you could end up anywhere. If you’re following a tight salary workers schedule, you just may end up here as well.

Earlier that evening, I’d met with my friend Alma, stopped by Commune 346 Tokyo en route to meet our friend Joji who was having a special launch at YellowKorner. That event seemed to fly by quick and a small crowd of like-minded fun loving creative types had gathered. As the event organizers sought to move everyone out, what was next? The convoy decided to make way towards Tokyo Station. It was generally agreed that we would undoubtedly find something. I definitely wasn’t involved in any of the decision-making and knew, as long as there were beer and snacks, I would be good. On the way, we saw Shin Marunouchi. It beckoned. Nearing 9 or 10 pm, the place seemed like it was going to sleep and we were rudely arriving to wake it back up. Not many people were around for a Friday night, but after work, don’t you want to get away from your office area?

This area felt really open and spacious, not the typical Tokyo I was used to. I’ve been around Tokyo Station a number of times, usually lost and attempting to find my way through the incredible network of trains. I’ve even been to see the Imperial Palace. But this space, where we were now, had never called my attention previously. Maybe, like most people, I still thought of it as a strictly business destination. It wasn’t that long ago when author and professor of Geography and Urban Studies Roman Cybriwsky described, “a walk through Marunouchi reveals its single-minded dedication to work… Almost no one speaks… The building themselves… all reflect the sameness” (1998). He said this just before a massive redevelopment took place.