"Entirely original. Cybriwsky provides a very personal take on the changes now occurring in Tokyo’s fascinating Roppongi district; the result is a wonderful book that should find a wide audience in urban studies."
—David W. Edgington, author of Japan at the Millennium: Joining Past and Future
"Roman Cybriwsky is well known for his pioneering geographic research on Tokyo. In his new book, he describes Roppongi, a famous cultural district that has undergone a substantial transformation over the last half century. Roppongi Crossing is a major contribution to the literature on Japan and on cities in general. It is also highly enjoyable reading."
"Drawing upon his years of experience living in and studying Tokyo, Cybriwsky's ethnography of its Roppongi District offers the kind of keen insight into the area that most foreign observers are unable to provide. In the process, he vividly details the morality play that is in Roppongi and Tokyo, a daily balancing act pitting individualism versus groupism, defiance versus conformity, and internationalization versus Japaneseness."
—A. J. Jacobs, Journal of Urban Affairs
"Cybriwsky offers important insights into the transition of a zone of liminality in the midst of a mega urban society."
—Anni Greve, Journal of Historical Geography
For most of the latter half of the twentieth century, Roppongi was an enormously popular nightclub district that stood out from the other pleasure quarters of Tokyo for its mix of international entertainment and people. It was where Japanese and foreigners went to meet and play. With the crash of Japan’s bubble economy in the 1990s, however, the neighborhood declined, and it now has a reputation as perhaps Tokyo’s most dangerous district—a hotbed of illegal narcotics, prostitution, and other crimes. Its concentration of “bad foreigners,” many from China, Russia and Eastern Europe, West Africa, and Southeast Asia is thought to be the source of the trouble.
Roman Adrian Cybriwsky examines how Roppongi’s nighttime economy is now under siege by both heavy-handed police action and the conservative Japanese “construction state,” an alliance of large private builders and political interests with broad discretion to redevelop Tokyo. The construction state sees an opportunity to turn prime real estate into high-end residential and retail projects that will “clean up” the area and make Tokyo more competitive with Shanghai and other rising business centers in Asia.
Roppongi Crossing is a revealing ethnography of what is arguably the most dynamic district in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Based on extensive fieldwork, it looks at the interplay between the neighborhood’s nighttime rhythms; its emerging daytime economy of office towers and shopping malls; Japan’s ongoing internationalization and changing ethnic mix; and Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown, the massive new construction projects now looming over the old playground.
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