Zen Spaces in Neon Places
Reflections on Japanese Architecture and Urbanism
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Combining two decades of author Vinayak Bharne’s scholarship, fieldwork, and personal experience, this landmark volume evokes the bewildering and contradictory built world of Japan, and weaves together its delicate and raw intellectual textures into a unique reading experience.
Moving across Japanese history in time and space—from its ancient Shinto beginnings to its largest recorded earthquake, and from the spiritual calm of Ise and Ryoanji to the psychedelic consumerism of Shinjuku and Ginza—Zen Spaces in Neon Places captures the multifarious architectural and urban sensations of the Japanese built environment—its historic buildings and post-industrial cities; its monastic gardens and digital streetscapes; its hyperspeed trains and theme parks; and its concurrent propensities for kinky love hotels and contemplative tea ceremonies. Zen Spaces also looks back at the vital defining moments in the culture’s history—the reforestation policy of the Tokugawa, the entry of European influences, the insinuation of Western democracy, the rise and collapse of the economic bubble—and their transformative effects in shaping the Japanese urban landscape we see today.