Harmonica Alley, Yokohama: a visual ethnography (2014 – 2017)

Principal Investigator: Deljana Iossifova

Co-Investigators: Ulysses Sengupta, Heide Imai

Junior Researchers: Magdalena Atanasova, Adam Brennan, Daniel Kempski, Paulina Kowalska, Diana Muresan, Bryony Preston, Solon Solomou, Ivana Tosheva, Matthew Walker, Larissa Weinmann, Sigita Zigure

Funding: ESRC, Daiwa Foundation, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester (Public Engagement Fund)

Harmonica Alley contains 61 ‘snack bars’, bars and small restaurants (10m2 each). Uncommon in Japan’s male-dominated society, where women are not usually encouraged to work or lead independent businesses, most of the ‘snack bar’ proprietors of Harmonica Alley are women.

Their narratives provide an intimate account of small-scale urban transitions and synchronous cultural and social change. Their experience of local development and cultural change over time and their current everyday practices and rituals in the context of recent pressures to demolish the building and redevelop the area offer important insights into the history and present of Harmonica Alley.

The study offers valuable insights into the short- and long-term social implications of small-scale urban interventions. This is timely and important in view of the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020.

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Posts | October 23, 2016 2:20 am