HIST 3090: TOKYO: History & Image

We will explore the city of Tokyo and its representation in various media from the 19th-century to the future. Beginning with its premodern foundations as Edo, part one of the course follows the development of its urban form and structure as it transformed from the capital of the Tokugawa shōguns into a modern city destroyed twice in the twentieth century, first by earthquake and then by war. The second part of the course analyzes postwar Tokyo’s history and image in film, novels, essays, and other textual and visual materials produced within and beyond Japan. It is in this context where “Tokyo” jumps from being a physical historical place to becoming a symbolic and metaphorical site of nostalgic reveries, monstrous nightmares, visionary imagination, and high-tech wonder.