Cover image for Tokyo : a view of the city
Tokyo : a view of the city
Richie, Donald, 1924-2013.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Reaktion, 1999.
Physical Description:
143 unnumbered pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS896.35 .R534 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Donald Richie takes the reader on a revealing tour of the different districts of Japan's capital city. Starting from the original centre of Tokyo - the Imperial Palace - Richie branches outwards, taking in other areas such as Yoshiwara, the original red-light district, and Ginza, the world-famous shipping street. The author has kept a diary for the entire time he has lived in Tokyo, and excerpts from it provide on-the-spot insights into the significance of fashions and fads in Japanese culture (for example the recent Tamagochi craze), as well as the various aspects of life in a small neighborhood. Richie gives a real sense of how Japanese society has changed since the Second World War, yet remained rooted in its past.

With the eclectic eye and ear of a film-maker, Richie describes the flavor and idiosyncrasies of this chaotic, teeming city. Tokyo is illustrated with 30 intriguing photographs by Seattle-based photographer, Joel Sackett.

Author Notes

Donald Richie was born, in Lima, Ohio on April 17, 1924. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Maritime Service as a civilian typist. He explored Tokyo on foot and began to attend the movies, which he wrote about for Stars and Stripes and later for the Japan Times. He received a bachelor's degree in English from Columbia University in 1953 and then returned to Japan. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was a film curator at New York's Museum of Modern Art, but by 1973 he returned to live permanently in Japan.

He wrote more than 50 books about all aspects of Japan including film, food, social customs, fables, gardens, temples, folk art, music, pop culture, tattoos and sexual mores. His works include The Inland Sea, Memoirs of the Warrior Kumagai, The Films of Akira Kurosawa, and Zen Inklings. He died on February 19, 2013 at the age of 88.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This small book is more an impressionistic "appreciation" than a guidebook or reference. Richie, the author of several books on Japan and an authority on Japanese film, discusses Tokyo's history, oddities, fads, mores, and habits. At the same time, he starts at the Imperial Palace in the middle of Tokyo and leads us outward, discussing areas including Asakusa, Ueno, the Ginza, and Shinjuku, though without maps. Richie quotes liberally from his own journal, kept continuously from 1947 to the present, as well as from such diverse authors as Aristotle, Italo Calvino, Edward Said, and Japanese authors Kobo Abe, Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, and Yasunari Kawabata, among others. The quotations deal with general impressions of life or observations about various cities around the world, comparing or contrasting them to Tokyo. Richie is certainly knowledgeable and pleasant to read, but this book seems better suited to those who have visited Tokyo or who appreciate one person's view of life there.√ĄKitty Dean Chen, Nassau Coll., Garden City, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.