Shibuya Story Vol.12 Dogen-zaka


These are abandoned houses in Maruyama-cho. They could have been a shop or something when in use. They have been left to stand and have escaped demolition with just a no-entry sign, probably because of complex reasons. What kind of people visited the houses in the past? The wooden houses give a sign of human presence even if they are in ruins now.

The sculpture is called Hibuse-jizo (a popular deity in the folk belief). It is also known as Dougen-zaka Jizo. There used to be a lot of traditional Japanese-style restaurants in Maruyama-cho and there were several crime incidents happening in the area. The classical Jizo is enshrined neatly and tidily and I can tell how the Jizo is loved by people.

We can see a bigger skyline towards the top of the hill. It is a residential area just several hundred meters away from Dogen-zaka. In the course of observing the bigger skyline with a sense of openness, I took a deep breath.

This is an ordinary house in Maruyama-cho. The old mortar wall and smoky porch light shows how time has taken its toll. I am surprised to find such evidence that people have been living in the area.

The town consists of a multi-layered structure. We sometimes find a buried memory appearing here and there as if we are discovering fossils in an exposed geological layer. Looking at such an old ordinary house, I recollected the image of more houses standing in the area. The passers-by would simply overlook such forgotten facts.

It is interesting to find various kinds of advertising displays. Crabs, Cows and Porcupine fish. Compared to those displays, this one is really lifelike apart from the size.

I would like to conclude it is an ordinary town here. It is an organic assembly of houses and buildings and people who live, do business, and visit. The neighborhood association continue to share information and communicate to organize events by using notice boards like this one. As long as people come to see the notice board, Dogen-zaka stays alive and keeps changing.

(Photo by Taichi Seo)

[ Japacon× FIELDS Research Institute ]


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