Tokyo roji book cover 

Heide Imai


Tokyo is a city that defies the orthodox and conventional, demanding a sensitive approach to particular occurrences in the smaller scale. Given its changing nature, urban scholars often find it hard to grasp a holistic reading of it. Dr. Heide Imai’s new book Tokyo Roji (東京路地) , published by Routledge in 2018 emerges as a fresh academic overview, acknowledging and repositioning in the global discourse of the urban one of the most relevant assets of the city: the alleys of Tokyo. Marginalised through the emergence of new forms of housing and public spaces, re-appropriated by different fields, and re-invented by the contemporary urban design discourse, the social meaning attached to the roji is being re-interpreted by individuals, subcultures and new social movements.


Dr. Heide Imai is Architect, Author and Visiting Associate Professor at Hosei University and Research Associate at Keio University, Tokyo, Japan. In her work she evokes the subtle complexity of Tokyo’s traditional alleyways in a way that resonates with all cities struggling to be simultaneously local, global, and modern. This book is tremendously useful for shaping a deeper understanding of, and better tools for, historic preservation and community planning in Asia and throughout the world. In her talk, Heide Imai will portray the life cycle of an urban form being rediscovered, commodified and lost as physical space, making use of historical references, urban narratives, graphic reinterpretations and exemplary study cases, to finally disclose questions of the roji's future, its new actors and its new possibilities, closing with a powerful statement: extraordinary cities are made of ordinary places.


Dr. Imai has published widely on topics as Japanese urbanism, modern city planning, and critical urban studies, and new publications include Creativity in Tokyo - Revitalizing a Matured City (2019 by Palgrave, with Matjaz Ursic) and Asian Alleyways - An Urban Vernacular in Times of Globalization (2019 by Amsterdam University Press, with Marie Gibert-Flutre).


The library committee is offering a cocktail party – "Meet the Author" – starting at 6:15 pm, followed by a set dinner with one drink at 6:40 pm (Menu: Small Salad/ bread/ Schweinebraten mit Knodel (roast pork with dumpling) / dessert/ coffee or tea ). Drinks can be ordered on a cash basis from the bar in the room. Book Break charges are 3,000 yen / 4,000 yen (members / non-members) per person. The member price is applicable to members' guests.


To FCCJ members: Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or on the FCCJ website. To help us plan proper seating and food preparation, please reserve in advance, preferably by noon of the day of the event. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. Reservations cancelled less than 72 hours in advance will be charged in full.


To non-members: Sign up now at the reception desk by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Please reserve and pay in advance by Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. No refund is available unless event is cancelled for the reasons on our part.


Any attendees with food restriction should inform the reception desk (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) one day before the event.

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