21 episodes

A new series of audio walking tours, exploring how cities got to be the way they are - starting with London and Tokyo.
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historicity historicity

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

A new series of audio walking tours, exploring how cities got to be the way they are - starting with London and Tokyo.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts at Japan House London (2023) (EMPIRE LINES x historicity Tokyo)

    WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts at Japan House London (2023) (EMPIRE LINES x historicity Tokyo)

    In this bonus episode of EMPIRE LINES, brought to you with historicity Tokyo, Japan House London curator Hiro Sugiyama, and contemporary artists Tsuzuki Mayumi and Suga Mica, ride the great waves of Japanese graphic design, commercial illustration, and counterculture, from the 1980s to now.
    Heta-uma - meaning bad but good - was an accidental art movement. A kind of ‘anti-illustration’, heta-uma rocked the established conventions of Japanese art, coinciding with the economic boom of the 1980s. Emerging in the underground manga magazine GARO, and manifesting in posters and adverts, pop art and animation, heta-uma challenges what is ‘ugly’, ‘beautiful’ or skilled art - as well as what ‘subcultures’ mean in the context of a global mainstreaming in Japanese art, embodied by Hokusai’s The Great Wave.
    Hiro Sugiyama, artist and co-curator of WAVE, has brought the annual exhibition in Tokyo to Japan Houses in San Francisco, Sao Paolo, and London. From his training at Yumura Teruhiko’s Flamingo Studios in Shinjuku, we return to the city’s Inari shrines with the surrealistic paintings of Suga Mica, and Showa period traditions with Tsuzuki Mayumi. Both artists also detail the long role of women artists in commercial illustration, the two-way exchanges between Japanese and Western European art traditions like ‘superrealism’ and ‘hyperrealism’, and how contemporary Japanese artists take as much from the concept of haziness (morotai), as David Hockney and the films of David Lynch.
    WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts runs at Japan House London until 22 October 2023.
    For more, you can read my article in gowithYamo: https://www.gowithyamo.com/blog/wave-currents-in-japanese-graphic-arts-at-japan-house-london
    This episode was produced in collaboration between historicity Tokyo and EMPIRE LINES, a podcast which uncovers the unexpected, often two-way flows of empires through art.
    WITH: Hiro Sugiyama, artist and a curator of WAVE. Tsuzuki Mayumi and Suga Mica, contemporary artists based in Japan. Eyre Kurasawa and Bethan Jones are interpreters based in London.
    ART: ‘WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts (2023)’.
    IMAGE: Installation View.
    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic.
    Follow EMPIRE LINES on Twitter: twitter.com/jelsofron/status/1306563558063271936 And Instagram: instagram.com/empirelinespodcast
    Support EMPIRE LINES on Patreon: patreon.com/empirelines

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    • 10 min
    Tokyo - BONUS: Tokyo in the Bay

    Tokyo - BONUS: Tokyo in the Bay

    In this bonus “walk,” we’re putting Tokyo in its maritime context. From an automated, elevated train, we see how the city has expanded into the bay, providing space for business and attractions; a new home for the fish market; but also for recreation and everyday life. 
    We start at Shimbashi Station, where the first rails were laid in Japan, which is now the starting point for the “black-headed gull” line. It first takes us south, past a surviving shogunal garden, surrounded by the new building, as the mainland inches remorselessly into the bay; then out over the Rainbow Bridge. We pass some 19th-century forts, designed to protect the city from foreigners, and some early 20th-century districts built close to the shore, but all now dwarfed by the huge artificial islands reclaimed from the sea. We get off the train at Odaiba, and make our way down to the beach, then along the boardwalk to the Statue of Liberty. Back on the train, we make a loop, past hotels and a cruise terminal, newish museums, and more offices. We glimpse the container port and bigger bridges further out, before heading back towards the city, past the convention centre, a tennis park, and the new central markets, where the world’s tuna come to be priced. We end the walk at Toyosu Park, looking back to the city, surrounded by non-descript offices, hotels, apartment buildings, and shops. It’s easy enough, given the anonymity of the architecture, to believe that the action is elsewhere. But the park is full of kids, who are bringing it to life. Maybe the future of Tokyo is here.
    You can follow the walk on this map: bit.ly/3pHSxf4
    And you can find the full transcript here: bit.ly/3JTcgzi
    See a sneak peek on TikTok: tiktok.com/@walkhistoricity and Instagram: instagram.com/WALKHISTORICITY
    WRITER AND PRESENTER: Angus Lockyer
    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic
    This series was supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Find out more at: gbsf.org.uk

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    • 34 min
    Tokyo - NEO-TOKYO 1: Seamy Dives and Corporate Towers

    Tokyo - NEO-TOKYO 1: Seamy Dives and Corporate Towers

    In this walk, we’re exploring how Tokyo has allowed authorities, developers, and people around the world to reimagine what a city might be, in the last fifty years. In this episode, we discover how Shinjuku has distilled the swirling currents of postwar political economy from transport and towers to nightlife and riots.
    We start at the entrance to Shinjuku Gyōen, a rural estate converted into a national garden, and near the post station, where sex workers gathered in the early modern period. On the other side of the street is Nichō, where the LGBT community has flourished once the sex workers left. It’s a fitting introduction to the nightlife that flourishes in East Shinjuku, which continues across the road, behind the shops and restaurants on the main drag, which started coming here after the earthquake in 1923. By the late 1960s, Shinjuku was a mecca for young Japanese, drawn here by cutting-edge art and political protest. They soon migrated south, but it wasn’t until the next century that the government started to clean things up, even Kabukichō, where the yakuza controlled the sin. At the heart of Shinjuku, though, is the station – the world’s busiest, currently undergoing a redevelopment, which will take 25 years. On its other side, in West Shinjuku, things are very different. A vast water purification plant has been replaced by corporate towers, capped and culminating in the new Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, which dominates a deserted people’s plaza. The walk ends in the garden on its far side, from where, once upon a time, you could see Fuji.
    You can follow the walk on this map: bit.ly/3qR5cwl
    And you can find the full transcript here: bit.ly/43O60AI
    See a sneak peek on TikTok: tiktok.com/@walkhistoricity and Instagram: instagram.com/WALKHISTORICITY
    WRITER AND PRESENTER: Angus Lockyer
    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic
    This series was supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Find out more at: gbsf.org.uk

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    • 59 min
    Tokyo - NEO-TOKYO 2: Tearing Down and Dressing Up

    Tokyo - NEO-TOKYO 2: Tearing Down and Dressing Up

    In this walk, we’re exploring how Tokyo has allowed authorities, developers, and people around the world to reimagine what a city might be, in the last fifty years. In this episode, we discover how Shibuya has provided space for Tokyo’s various tribes to live out their dreams, around stations, shrines, and parks. 
    We start at the main entrance to the 100-year-old Meiji Shrine. Next door is Yoyogi Park, tea and mulberry fields turned into an army training ground, then housing for the US military after the war and the athletes’ village for the 1964 Olympics. Over the road, two of the original, iconic stadia still stand, next to the headquarters of NHK, the national broadcaster. Heading back over the tracks, we wend our way down through Harajuku to Takeshita Dōri, still a magnet for young Japanese in search of fast fashion, then back up to Omotesando, where slightly older tribes have long congregated. We wend our way down what was once a river through fields and learn how earlier versions of urban culture, too, have been erased. We cross over the main road into Shibuya proper, sprawling over the hills leading down to the station where the smaller boutiques give way to the huge projects of the two main corporate players. Seibu and Tokyu, both began as private rail companies a century ago, started to develop the neighbourhood as fashion central in the 1970s, and continue to build ever higher today, as the station itself is slowly transformed. 
    You can follow the walk on this map: bit.ly/3NPBXTI
    And you can find the full transcript here: bit.ly/3Pu3F9M
    See a sneak peek on TikTok: tiktok.com/@walkhistoricity and Instagram: instagram.com/WALKHISTORICITY
    WRITER AND PRESENTER: Angus Lockyer
    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic
    This series was supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Find out more at: gbsf.org.uk

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 57 min
    Tokyo - NEO-TOKYO 3: In the Club?

    Tokyo - NEO-TOKYO 3: In the Club?

    In this walk, we’re exploring how Tokyo has allowed authorities, developers, and people around the world to reimagine what a city might be, in the last fifty years. In this episode, we see how Roppongi’s military past has more or less vanished, replaced first by nightclubs, more recently by luxury towers and integrated developments. 
    We start on the southeast corner of Roppongi Hills, make our way into the “Artelligent City.” We pass through the Mōri garden, which nods to the site’s early modern incarnation as a lordly suburban villa, and then through the walls, up into the plaza, where we shelter under a spider, in the shadow of the towering but squat Mori Tower. Descending to the street and heading towards Roppongi Crossing, we can still find some remnants of the district’s previous incarnation as a playground for foreigners, celebrities, and mobsters. More prominent are the other two corners of Roppongi’s “art triangle,” the National Art Center and the various art spaces of Tokyo Midtown, together with the offices and condos that are sprouting in between. Invisible are any signs of Roppongi’s military past, though the American military maintains a heliport and a newspaper not too far away. The second half of the episode sees more of the same, as we walk up and down the slopes into Azabu, past embassy housing and more soaring towers. We end the episode contemplating the Mori Building Company’s latest project, Azabudai Hills, currently under construction, which promises to create a “modern urban village,” but threatens to put the 1958 Tokyo Tower and the 1975 headquarters of a new religion in the shade.
    You can follow the walk on this map: bit.ly/3D1IwMP 
    And you can find the full transcript here: bit.ly/43odN7q
    See a sneak peek on TikTok: tiktok.com/@walkhistoricity 
    and Instagram: instagram.com/WALKHISTORICITY
    WRITER AND PRESENTER: Angus Lockyer
    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic
    This series was supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Find out more at: gbsf.org.uk


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    • 52 min
    Tokyo - COMMONERS’ CAPITAL 1: City of Townspeople

    Tokyo - COMMONERS’ CAPITAL 1: City of Townspeople

    In this walk, we’re exploring the flatlands northeast of the Palace, where much of the real work of the city has always been done. In this episode, we span the gamut, from banking citadels and corporate towers to popular culture and fertility deities.
    We start at Nihonbashi, “Japan’s bridge,” originally the heart of downtown and of Tokyo’s canal network. The notice boards and the fish market have disappeared, but the construction continues. Staying south of the river, soon enough we’re in Japan’s Wall Street, though the traders no longer work the floors. But crossing over, we pass into a different world, of small wards, each originally dedicated to a particular trade or craft. It doesn’t take us too long to make our way back to the main drag, where Mitsukoshi and Mitsui still ply their respective trades. But as we move north into Kanda (the “deity’s fields”), so the buildings get shorter and the story changes again. The next river has been replaced, as a way to get around, by rail lines. But it’s still possible to duck into a small, quiet shrine, before making our way across it into the neon chaos of Akihabara, with its anime, idols, and maid cafes. The walk ends back near the station, where the local authority is making space for yet more office towers.
    You can follow the walk on this map: bit.ly/3Iybabn 
    And you can find the full transcript here: bit.ly/3pSzUEG 
    See a sneak peek on TikTok: tiktok.com/@walkhistoricity and Instagram: instagram.com/WALKHISTORICITY
    WRITER AND PRESENTER: Angus Lockyer
    PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic
    This series was supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Find out more at: gbsf.org.uk

    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Susan MF ,

Put on your trainers and learn about London!

Full disclosure (or at least partial): I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Lockyer “for a minute”, so when I heard the news of this new Podcast project, I smashed the subscribe and automatically downloaded Historicity with #abandon.

Sadly, I'm no history buff like our hosts, but I have been to London several times Historicity transports me back via sounds, descriptions, and context galore.

I introduced my sister to the podcast on a mini-road trip and, to my surprise, she didn’t ask to switch back to her murder podcast! In fact, she was bummed when we arrived at our destination and we had to pause the pod.

I highly recommend this podcast regardless of your proximity or familiarity with London. It entertains and informs in a delightful way…although I expected nothing less. #historicitysuperfan

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