Huey Hoong Chan

Tokyo Vertical Cemetery

Overall the last several years, residents of the world's largest city have started to wake up to new neighbors. Neighbors who are silent, but whose presence is opposed by many nonetheless.

Private developers in Tokyo have used temples as covers to build cemetery plots which they can sell for ten times the price of land without taxes. This method is called meigi-gashi by the locals who oppose it. This practice results in the unwanted placement of cemeteries adjacent to homes in the already densely populated neighborhoods ofTokyo.

The ever-changing demographics of Tokyo are amplifying this issue. Recent studies show that the city's average age is rapidly increasing, with nearly twenty-five percent of the population being 65 or older and a large majority over the age of 30. Similarly, more and more rural residents are coming into Tokyo, increasing the overall population. As the age and population increase, Tokyo is being forced to face the issue of burial space.

The problem of Tokyo resounds a problem for many cities that are growing as the world urbanizes and more people flock to large cities. As this predicament abounds, how can we examine the juxtaposition of such asolemn and uninvited program with that of the vibrant and active city?