Life In An Iconic Tokyo Building

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This is Nakagin Capsule Tower. Built in 1972, it was designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa and a prime example of the Japanese architectural movement known as Metabolism, in which the concept was to design buildings that are organic and not static, making them reminiscent of living beings.

The Nakagin Capsule Tower consists of a series of pre-fab cell-like pods that could be removed and replaced, though none of the units have been replaced. The small apartments were originally aimed at salarymen but the tower has since shown the wear and tear of time.

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Here is what the building looked like when it was built.

And today.

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There has been a Save Nakagin Capsule Tower Project to prevent the building from being torn down. Some residents have renovated their pods.

As IT Media reports, Twitter user Yumataromu lived in one of the capsules for two and a half months, documenting her experience in one of the non-renovated capsules.

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Hot water was shut off in 2010, so she had to bathe at the local bathhouse. The roof was leaky, and her survival instincts kicked in while living in the 10-square-meter place, which is tiny even by cramped Tokyo standards. She brought a miniature Doraemon-shaped refrigerator and some lights to help make the place seem a little homier. She did become attached to her little apartment, and even with the leaky roof, it’s easy to see why.

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This is an important and interesting building that will hopefully be restored to its 1970s sci-fi glory.

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About the author

Brian Ashcraft

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.