Neighborhood Tokyo (1992)

Directed by Theodore C. Bestor

Documentary | Short

Most recently watched by sleestakk


Miyamoto-cho is a community of Mom-and-Pop stores and family enterprises located near the center of Tokyo. Competition from supermarkets and shopping centers threatens the livelihoods of long-term residents. High land prices tempt owners to tear down old homes and replace them with apartment buildings; this in turn is changing the composition of the population. Against this backdrop, residents strive to maintain the close social ties, symbols of local identity, and community rituals that keep Miyamoto-cho from becoming just another mailing address. Theodore Bestor began his research here in 1979. His prize winning book of the same name is available through Stanford University Press. This documentary is one of a series depicting the variety of life in today’s Japan in the context of human problems common to all industrial nations. A comprehensive study guide is available.

Length 29 minutes


Viewing Notes

Found this short documentary on Kanopy when I was looking for something else. It’s a neat fishbowl look at a specific neighborhood in Tokyo, an older neighborhood that at the time of this production is aging out and losing its small shops. However, the community there is still maintaining traditions and encouraging the younger residents to be a part of the festivities. It’s rather dry yet has it’s own DIY charm likely shot with prosumer camcorder was available then.

I’d love to see a similar doc produced now 30 years later to see what has changed and what has remained. It’s sad knowing that many of the older folks featured here are probably no longer with us.

Of course I went down a rabbit hole trying to locate this specific neighborhood using clues from the book this doc is based on. I know the general area but not specifically this neighborhood. But I’d like to find it eventually and perhaps visit someday.


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