Published: May 15, 2023

CAS is happy to announce that Past Visiting Scholar Angus Lockyer just released the first episode in a new series on the historicity podcast -- audio walking tours, exploring how cities got to be the way they are. Following London, this series is on Tokyo, again with three walks -- on the Imperial Capital, the Commoner's Capital, and Neo-Tokyo -- each broken down into three episodes. It starts today, Friday 12 May, on the plaza in front of the imperial palace; and will end up at the beginning of August, with a bonus episode, on some reclaimed land out in Tokyo Bay. 

historicity: tokyo historicity is a series of audio walking tours, which explores how cities got to be the way they are.

Many tours detach the past from the present, stories from their contexts, buildings from the streets, or individual neighbourhoods from the city as a whole. historicity instead joins things up, weaving a city’s story with its connections to the world beyond, and so explaining why we see what we do. Recorded on location and delivered as a podcast, each walk is designed to be followed in real time on the streets of Tokyo. But the podcast also serves those beyond the city. With maps and transcripts, historicity meets listeners wherever they are, letting them join our journeys in their own place, at their own pace. The podcast is intended as a public resource, which improves access to the city and its stories. It has been developed with support from institutional partners, who share our commitments to representing a city accurately and to encouraging listeners to use the podcast as a springboard for learning more – in local museums, archives, and beyond.

In our first series of three walks, in London, we explored the relationship between London and Westminster, and the contrast between the histories of the East and West Ends. Our second series, in Tokyo, with support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, launches on 12 May 2023.

As with London, there are three walks, each broken down into three one-hour episodes.
A. Imperial Capital circles the imperial palace, to explore how authority has flowed from it, to be hoarded in the districts close by, transformed into commercial power, and projected on the city, country, empire, and world (released May 2023). 1. Empty Space?: from the Imperial Palace plaza to Yasukuni Shrine. 2. State Apparatus: from Akasaka via Nagata-chō to Kasumigaseki. 3. Corporate Capital: from Hibiya Park via Ginza to Tokyo Station.
B. Commoner’s Capital explores the low city – the flatlands northeast of the palace, where commoners served the early modern elite, where banks and businesses set up shop in the late 19th century, and where much of the work of the city continues to be done (released June 2023). 1. City of Townspeople: from Nihonbashi to Akihabara. 2. Landscape of the Gods: from Ochanomizu via Yushima to Ueno. 3. Disaster, Prayer, and Play: from Ryōgoku to Asakusa.
C. Neo-Tokyo compares three western suburbs, which mushroomed in the postwar period as entertainment districts, attracting developers, gangsters, and the authorities, and providing a vision of what Tokyo – and maybe cities worldwide – might become (released July 2023). 1. Seamy Dives and Corporate Towers: Shinjuku East and West. 2. Tearing Down and Dressing Up: from Meiji Shrine via Harajuku to Shibuya. 3. In the Club?: from Roppongi Hills to Azabudai Hills.


We welcome enquiries and potential collaborations, for both the existing series of the podcast, and for future historicities. Both Angus Lockyer (Writer, Presenter) and Jelena Sofronijevic (Producer) are available for interview and other promotional activity.