"?tomo?s Exploding Cities ? The Intersection of Class and City in ?tomo Katsuhiro?s Works Before, During, and After the Bubble Economy in Japan"
, in Daniel Marques Sampaio & Michael Heilgemeir, in Between Texts and Cities, Serie Writing Visual Culture, Vol. 6, 2015
?tomo?s Exploding Cities ? The Intersection of Class and City in ?tomo Katsuhiro?s Works Before, During, and After the Bubble Economy in Japan
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In one of ?tomo Katsuhiro?s interviews held during the sponsoring events for Metropolis (2001) he stated that, characters aside, the city itself was a driving force behind his initial concept. ?tomo wanted a city that felt ?alive? on the one hand, but that he could gleefully ?completely destroy? on the other. Although the artist is neither a stranger to ?exploding cities? in a figurative (i. e. exploding population) nor in a literal sense, the ways he imagined his cityscapes changed bit by bit. Considering the essential position held by the apocalyptic idea as a key-image in both political and pop-cultural discourse during the Lost Decades, as the years following the burst of the bubble economy are known, ?tomo?s works open up the possibility to examine how the image of urban landscape and its destruction are interconnected with the discourse of class (or with its vanishing and re-emerging) in Japan during the 1980s and 1990s. By looking at D?mu (1980-1981), Akira (1982-1990; 1988), and Metropolis, one can not only approach the image of the (exploding) city and its possible change over time, but also the shift in discussion of class in the once called ?classless society?.