Tokyo is stuck in a cycle of building new buildings, demolishing them, and then rebuilding them again. The city is stuck in a cycle of “scrap and build.” The people live in a city which keeps changing and thus are constantly on the move—reflecting the restlessness of Tokyo itself. This energy pervades the buildings and residents alike, reverberating between the two.
I think that there are differences in how Japan and Europe treat their buildings. In Europe, beautiful buildings from the Middle Ages—buildings that are a thousand years old—are still in use today. In contrast, most Japanese buildings have little history; they are demolished as soon as they are no longer needed, and new buildings spring up in their place. Therefore, the landscape in Tokyo continues to change at a very fast pace.
In 2020, the Olympics will be held in Tokyo. This means that new buildings are being built everywhere in Tokyo; the landscape of the city changes every day. It seems to me like a gigantic creature, continuously growing and feeding, expanding ever outward.
—Ash Shinya Kawaoto
If you’d like to see more work like this, we’d recommend these previous features: Tokyo, City of Strangers, Kenji Chiga’s project on searching for connections in Japan’s capital; My Life, a street photography series shot in the shifting landscape of Tokyo; and Metamorpolis, a jaw-dropping project that documents life in one of the world’s fastest-growing cities.