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Cities: Pacific Rim Series - Jessamyn Abel

When Apr 09, 2015
from 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM
Where Palmer Lipcon Auditorium, Palmer Museum of Art
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“Super-Express, Mega-Events, and the Bullet Train City,"

Japan’s first Bullet Train connected a Tokyo newly rebuilt for the 1964 Summer Olympics with Osaka, soon to host an international exposition in 1970.  The Western terminal was called “New Osaka Station” simply to differentiate it from the existing train station in the city’s center, but the name captures some truth of the transformative impact that the new line had on the cities it connected. While preparation for the Olympic Games physically reshaped Tokyo, the opening of the world’s fastest train and accompanying “speed-up” of the entire Japanese rail system transformed the cities of the Tōkaidō corridor and beyond in terms of both urban geography and metropolitan identity, as shifting patterns of mobility engendered new views of space, distance, and local cultures. People responded to new travel opportunities with both excitement and trepidation. While many celebrated benefits to Osaka, Atami, and other cities, others worried that faster, easier domestic travel would accelerate Japan’s cultural homogenization by erasing the distinctive character of distant cities. This talk will examine the real and imagined changes to Japan’s most densely populated corridor by the super-express and mega-events of the 1960s.