Walls Invisible….

But what replaces imprisoning circumvallations, no trace of which survives in this New Jerusalem? For no conurbation can do without any of the things that fortress enclosures once and elsewhere supply. In one way or another, the control needs persist – even perhaps expand – as temporary immigrants flood in for short term jobs, as flood they must till permanent settler arrive to take up the slack. Big(ger) cities bring with them more extreme anomie, one rendered perhaps more threatening than in days of yore: suburban Japanese families do not speak Chinese of any sort. Etc.

The answer seems to lie largely with or by the arraying of castle-keep (o-joh) – like official midrises topped over with the symbols of feudal power or their silhouette: a clambering shape derived from the citadels of Japan’s older fortresses. Scenic and quaint perhaps, but still a reminder of unshifting territoriality, preserved indeed in the Old and New imperial palaces of the Mainland. Here as hybrids, but with their hidden reinforcements (the day-laborers built these frames…) making them all the more to-be-respected.

Even a short walk down “Main Street” gives a sense of how these castles bore down – or overreached- those who passed at street level. To better show this I have superimposed the silhouette of the Nagoya “keep” over the filmed views of the Kanto Army GHQ, the City Police HQ, and the Kohtoku Kaikan, the three bastions of army and business power along this “business” thoroughfare. (Excluding the most terrible of all such structures, the grandiose Government Palace abutting Shunde (Juntoku) Place, site of the new Imperial Palace-to-be. (Page 1).

Even when re-costumed (sotto voce) in hybrid Romanesque manner, the government office with judiciary or any kind of “enforcement” role still retained elements of the Imperial Crown style: the quotation of the Pagoda-tower (tenshukaku toh) from mainland castle design, for example, and the no-nonsense blunted, four-ribbed “pyramidal” roof atop full-rise pylons or pavilions framing the portico.

満州国司法部 Shinkyo Min. of Justice

Not entirely an open city feeling, though in the residential suburbs one saw no such monsters…

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