The Making of Urban Japan: Cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty First Century, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Making of Urban Japan

Cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty First Century, 1st Edition

By André Sorensen


404 pages

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During the twentieth century, Japan was transformed from a poor, primarily rural country into one of the world's largest industrial powers and most highly urbanised countries. Interestingly, while Japanese governments and planners borrowed carefully from the planning ideas and methods of many other countries, Japanese urban planning, urban governance and cities developed very differently from those of other developed countries. Japan's distinctive patterns of urbanisation are partly a product of the highly developed urban system, urban traditions and material culture of the pre-modern period, which remained influential until well after the Pacific War. A second key influence has been the dominance of central government in urban affairs, and its consistent prioritisation of economic growth over the public welfare or urban quality of life. André Sorensen examines Japan's urban trajectory from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, paying particular attention to the weak development of Japanese civil society, local governments, and land development and planning regulations.


'Meticulously researched and impressively presented … a tremendous resource for the serious scholar.' - Geographical Association

'This book should establish itself as the first port of call for both students and scholars embarking on a study of Japanese urbanism and planning history … a highly sophisticated work' - Environment and Planning/Government & Policy

Table of Contents

1. The Legacy of the Tokugawa Period 2. The Meiji Period: Establishing Modern Traditions 3. Taishô Period Urbanization and the Development of the 1919 Planning System 4. Japan's First Urban Planning System 5. Post-war Reconstruction and Rapid Economic Growth 6. Environmental Crisis and the New City Planning System of 1968 7. Implementing the New City Planning System 8. From Planning Deregulation to the Bubble Economy 9. The Era of Local Rights: Master Plans, Machizukuri and Historical Preservation 10. Japanese Urbanization and Planning

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / Japan
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Regional Planning
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies