Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

TOKYO Seen From the Perspective of Fashion
KAWASHIMA Yoko / Itochu Fashion System

September 25, 2007
Over the past few years, "TOKYO" has become a focus of attention. That's not Tokyo as a city, but rather as a symbol of the city where all things Japanese accumulate. Why is TOKYO so much in the spotlight these days?

Let me start by mentioning the insatiable quest for something new. An inexhaustible surge of energy that creates new objects and phenomena both tangible and intangible, all over the place --this is the first reason why TOKYO attracts so much attention.

Let's look at this in terms of areas. While Shibuya may be at the cutting edge of contemporary fashion, it is easily overtaken by Aoyama with the changing times. The Ginza and Nihombashi area, whose powers had waned for a while, stages a comeback and begins to draw the crowds again.

So many commercial areas coexist within this single city, and the sheer energy that spreads outward in the process of mutual competition overwhelms all other cities. Paris, London and New York are all cities where new fashion is constantly being born, but in terms of speed and scope, they are no match for TOKYO.

Another reason for all the attention on TOKYO is its atmosphere of chaos, which sometimes borders on the excessive.

Take a turn from the glamorous main street onto a back street, and you'll find many a quiet townscape, dotted with galleries and boutiques that fit in nicely with their surroundings. While giant commercial complexes are being developed on the one hand, small cafés, boutiques and variety shops are huddled together at "deeper" locations of Ura-Hara (back street Harajuku) or Oku-Daikanyama (back street Daikanyama).

Behind the shops of world famous brands you'll find shops of minor brands yet to be discovered. There are luxury goods from prestigious European brands as well as their knock-off versions imported from Asia. There are objects produced by painstaking craftsmanship rooted in history, as well as objects made possible by the very latest in technology.

There are artistic buildings designed by the world's top architects, as well as pachinko parlors and variety shops defined by glaring neon signs and the hustle and bustle of human activity. The new and old, the large and small, the famous and unknown -- every conceivable object and phenomenon coexists in continuous motion. And they are all essential parts that give TOKYO its singular character.

Above all, the coming together of unique personalities is an aspect we must not forget when speaking of TOKYO. People flock to shops to create a town. Conversely, shops are developed with the purpose of creating a town by attracting people. In other words, town, shop and people make up a cyclical whole that generates a special energy. And this, indeed is the fascination of TOKYO. A city where global trends take shape at the earliest stage - a city you can't afford to take your eyes off.

The writer is Marketing Manager at Itochu Fashion System Co., Ltd.
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

川島蓉子 / 伊藤忠ファッションシステム

2007年 9月 25日







(筆者は伊藤忠ファッションシステム㈱ 事業開発室マーケティングマネージャー)
一般社団法人 日本英語交流連盟

English Speaking Union of Japan > Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW) > TOKYO Seen From the Perspective of Fashion