Building legitimacy through the spatial aesthetics of the illicit
Non-state urban actors in post-3.11 Japan
ByEngelien Margrete Bjone, John Edom, and Hannah Wood
Pages 19

This chapter examines how shared understandings of the licit and the illicit are built and rebuilt in Ishinomaki, Japan in the aftermath of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of 11 March 2011. It provides a brief discussion of the socio-spatial constructs of omote and ura, as concepts that inscribe notions of the licit and illicit in Japanese urban space, and of aesthetics as a means to theorise the relationship between the spatial construction of licit and illicit and the production of a community of shared values. The chapter suggests that the Japanese urban environment can be thus be seen as a repository of objects of shared value where spatial and aesthetic reconfiguration may provide the means to redistribute the values of the community. It discusses the broader implications of spatial strategies that negotiate shifting understandings of licit and illicit in order to legitimate claims to act in the public interest, and the impact that this has had in Ishinomaki.