This is a piece originally submitted to a course called “(in)visible Tokyo” at the University of Tokyo.

(In)visible Tokyo


This paper argues through the lens of Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life that Golden Gai – a small area consisting of six narrow, bar-filled alleyways – can be seen as a subversive space against the often economically-exclusive spaces of Shinjuku. It borrows from personal experience and theoretical concepts of ‘strategy,’ ‘tactic,’ and ‘written space’ in order to analyze power relations between Golden Gai and its surrounding space of Shinjuku. Certeau defines strategy as “the calculus force-relationships which become possible when a subject of will and power (a proprietor, an enterprise, a city, a scientific institution) can be isolated from an environment…. to capitalize on its advantages, prepare its expansions, and secure independence.” In other words, a strategic space is one that possesses the power to be independent from the encroachment of other spaces’ interests; it can force its own interests onto its surrounding spaces, instead of being…

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