adventure of my life (Hajime Hirayama:平山新)

Group aims to revamp Tokyo into ‘global capital of culture’

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The Yomiuri Shimbun A group of private-sector volunteers have drafted an action plan to develop Tokyo into a “global capital of culture” by 2020 in time for the Olympics and Paralympics, which involves the arrangement of the city’s northern center to showcase iconic cultural resources in an integrated manner. The plan will cover cultural resources in Ueno and four surrounding areas, including the “Yanesen” district—an acronym representing Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi. The group aims for the area to be designated a special state strategic zone by the government. In addition to a host of museums in Ueno and street landscapes in the Yanesen district, the plan covers Jimbocho, a secondhand book town; Akihabara, the mecca of Japanese pop culture; and Hongo, where the University of Tokyo’s Hongo Campus is located. Stretching about three kilometers north to south and about two kilometers from west to east, the envisaged area has a wealth of cultural assets—including Yushima Tenmangu, a Shinto shrine commonly known as Yushima Tenjin; Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Teien, a garden formerly owned by the Iwasaki family, founders of Mitsubishi group; and Yanaka, a town known for its temples. In terms of the degree of integration, the envisioned area is said to exceed the Seine riverside in Paris and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The five districts are currently isolated from each other, but under the plan, they will be linked together through such projects as connecting existing alleys, building roads to ease bicycle and pedestrian traffic and constructing a light rail transit system while minimizing environmental impact. Core facilities would also be built, including a design museum. Redevelopment will be encouraged for Yanesen to evolve as a tourist attraction, for Yushima to become a district for foreign students and for Kanda to grow into an area for businesspeople. This month, the group established a research committee chaired by Shigeru Ito, a specially appointed professor of Waseda University and an authority on urban planning. In addition to Ito, members of the research committee include architect Kengo Kuma and writer Mayumi Mori. The group will seek support from government offices, including the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry and the Cultural Affairs Agency, to revamp the five districts into an integrated cultural center in Tokyo by 2020. “Roads will be stone-paved and board or stone walls will be replaced with hedges as part of our continued efforts to redevelop the districts to see how they will evolve into [culturally] matured places of Japan,” Ito said. “The districts covered by the redevelopment plan have faces of the Edo period (1603-1867) and the Meiji era (1868-1912) and they are different from the southwestern area of Tokyo, which is strongly influenced by Western culture. If different kinds of landscapes are showcased through the project, Tokyo will have more sharply distinctive shades of cultural differences.”   abstract A group of private-sector volunteers have drafted an action plan to develop Tokyo into a “global capital of culture” by 2020 in time for the Olympics and Paralympics, which involves the arrangement of the city’s northern center to showcase iconic cultural resources in an integrated manner. The plan will cover cultural resources in Ueno and four surrounding areas, including the “Yanesen” district—an acronym representing Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi. The group aims for the area to be designated a special state strategic zone by the government. These districts are currently isolated from each other, but under the plan, they will be linked together through such projects as connecting existing alleys, building roads to ease bicycle and pedestrian traffic and constructing a light rail transit system while minimizing environmental impact.
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