Tag Archives: Showa

How Japan was 75 years ago…

5 Feb

I like photo exhibits.
I usually go to the annual Press Photos Exhibit in downtown Tokyo every December.

There is currently another photo exhibit in Tokyo that I want to see.

The 「警視庁カメラマンが撮った昭和モダンの情景 ・ 石川光陽写真展」 (“Koyo Ishikawa – Documentary Photographs of the Showa  Era by a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Cameraman”) exhibit.

石川光陽 (Koyo Ishikawa) was a photographer with the Tokyo Police Department and was tasked with taking photographs of the city just prior to, during, and after World War II.

Tokyo Police photographer, Koyo Ishikawa

The period of time that Mr. Ishikawa lived and photographed is called the 昭和時代 (Showa Era) in Japan. This period was from late 1926 until early 1989.

I came to Japan in 1990…just after the Showa Era ended, but I’m very interested in this period of Japan’s history. So I’m planning to go to this photo exhibit.

The 「警視庁カメラマンが撮った昭和モダンの情景 ・ 石川光陽写真展」 (“Koyo Ishikawa – Documentary Photographs of the Showa Era by a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Cameraman”) photo exhibit is currently at the “Old Shinbashi Station” which is near 新橋駅 (Shinbashi train station) in Tokyo.
It will be there until 2011 March 21st. The hours are 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM and is open everyday except Mondays.

Admission is free of charge.

Here are some of the photos that were taken by Koyo Ishikawa:


Asakusa, Tokyo in 1937

Ginza, Tokyo in 1933.

Tokyo train station in 1936

Ueno, Tokyo in 1935

Tokyo looks so very different today!


新幹線 in Florida?

29 Apr

I grew up in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. I left there two decades ago…but it’s still where I grew up.

So I was interested when I heard a story on the TV news recently that involved both Tampa, Florida and Japan.

The news said that Florida plans to build a 新幹線 (bullet train) line from Tampa to Orlando and continue on to Miami.

When I lived in Florida, there was no public transportation system to speak of…and definitely no train—especially a bullet train!

Many countries, including Japan, are putting bids in to build this new train line for Florida.

The trains in Japan are spotless, safe, and extremely punctual. But I wonder if it’ll be the same situation in America, even if Japan builds the bullet train system for them…because a big factor in Japan’s excellent public transportation system is not only the technology but also Japan’s culture itself.


Until yesterday, Japan had a fifteen year 時効 (Statute of Limitations) for murder.
That meant that if someone killed another person in Japan and the police couldn’t catch them with that time limit they would be free of any chance of prosecution for that crime from then on.

But a new law was passed yesterday that completely abolished the Statute of Limitations for murder…and it’s retroactive. So there is now no Statute of Limitations for any murder committed on 1995 April 28 or later.

Actually, this bill was rushed through the Japanese Senate in order to be passed yesterday because there is an unsolved murder case that occurred on that exact date of 1995 April 28…so if this bill wasn’t passed into law yesterday, whoever it was that stabbed an elderly couple to death in their home and then burned their house down (apparently in an effort to cover their crime) would be free from any possibility of being punished for that heinous crime.
But now there is no longer a time limit for the police to catch murderers in Japan.

(Thankfully though, the violent crime rate in Japan is extremely low.)