9.15.2010

Tokyo Urban Activism (update: from public space to brand space)

Update: Here is a video of Nike's vision of the space, a stark difference:








Miyashita Park in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo is the site of a struggle over urban public space. Activists are protesting the Ward's plans to turn the Park into a Nike Sponsored Skateboard Park, criticizing the privatization of a historic site of public assembly & protest, and shelter to many local homeless. One activist banner depicts a Nike swoosh turned into a swiping hand, adding a sinister inflection to the motto "just do it". A more detailed description can be found at West Tokyo Hustle. More at (japanese): airmiyashitapark.info ourplanet-tv

When the ward recently barricaded the park, ostensibly for "cleaning" and preparation for the new construction, activists gathered again to protest. The youtube video of the demonstration provides an interesting peek at Japanese activism (and its seemingly ubiquitous helmets, head and/or armbands). For a great history of public protest in Japan see Wesley Sasaki-Uemura's Organizing The Spontaneous: Citizen Protest in Postwar Japan.





update: @remmid links to a TBS interview with social scientist Miyadai Shin about Miyashita Park and the future of public space: http://podcast.tbsradio.jp/dc/files/miyadai20100917.mp3

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