chapter  9
27 Pages

Public and private space

Figure 9.1 shows a sales leaflet for the apartments in a condominium under construction in central Kyoto. The semi-transparent background is formed by skyscraper facades that look more like Tokyo or Osaka than anything actually existing in Kyoto, but the model image of the advertised building and the details about location and traffic connections – all very favourable – are closer to reality. Small photos of vicinal attractions figure as well, and, alongside a department store and two shopping streets, one of the photos shows a traditional town house, captioned ‘nearby machiya’ (shûhen no machiya). The airily phrased copy evokes an advanced lifestyle (senshin no kurashi) in the heart of town, where, making for a stimulating contrast, the facades of ancient machiya still linger on. Tradition is employed to sell modernity here, and one cannot help wondering how many of the kyô-machiya glorified in the ad were demolished to build the condominium in the first place, given also that the latter’s long-drawn-out layout suggests earlier machiya occupancy.