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I wonder if that is a Japanese conventional wisdom, or a Western one? Edo was a great metropolis centuries before Commodore Perry waved the crowbar. It ain't like they were squatting around huts, worshipping Amaterasu like Tezuka primitives.

As for its current look, skyscrapers and all that, I don't think you can build 40-story buildings with saddle roofs and wooden posts. In other words, much of the way Tokyo looks isn't so much about aping the West (you realize there pretty quick you're not in Toronto) as the requirements of modern life as refracted through Japanese society.

It's funny how in films like SERPICO and KINJITE you find these scattered insights.

The inferiority thing may go all the way back to when the Emperor was in Kyoto and all Edo had was the Shogun. Things picked up a bit during the Meiji when Tokyo got all those parks and department stores, effectively kicking Osaka's ass. Nowadays…well…how about those Harajuku Girls?

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