Skip to main content

Volume 3 Supplement 3

Shanghai: Heritage at the Crossroads of Cultures

Grimy Heritage: Organic Bar Streets in Shanghai and Tokyo

Abstract

Every city has built environments that are largely regarded as eyesores, for aesthetic, social, or moral reasons. Urban nightlife streets are examples of such ‘grimy heritage’. Not only shabby and disorderly, they harbour forms of commercial sex, drinking cultures, and ephemeral nightlife cultures that many city residents and government officials consider undesirable. Sometimes their built forms are regarded as the enemy of genuine heritage architecture, since they obscure more solid, carefully designed structures around them. However, in many cities, organic nightlife streets—developing in such spaces precisely because they were derelict or poorly regulated—serve important social functions as spaces of creativity and community formation. This paper examines the ways that such ‘grimy heritage’ has developed in Shanghai and Tokyo, using examples from ethnographic research and historical sources, and addressing the question of the contribution of the ‘grimy heritage’ to authentic, urban social life.

References

  1. Almazán, J. and Yoshinori, N., 2013. “Urban Micro-Spatiality in Tokyo: Case Study on Six Yokochō Bar Districts.” Transactions of AIJ. Journal of architecture, Planning and Environmental Engineering 78 (689): 1515–1522.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bao, Yaming, Hongtu Wang, and Shengjian Zhu. 2001. Shanghai jiuba: kongjian, xiaofei yu xiangxiang [Shanghai Bars: Space, Consumption and Imagination]. Nanjing: Jiangsu People’s Press.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Campo, Daniel, and Brent D. Ryan. 2008. “The Entertainment Zone: Unplanned Nightlife and the Revitalization of the American Downtown.” Journal of Urban Design 13 (3): 291–315.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Chang, Tou Chuang. 2000a. “Theming Cities, Taming Places: Insights from Singapore.” Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 82 (1): 35–54.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Chang, Tou Chuang. 2000b. “Singapore’s Little India: a tourist attraction as a contested landscape.” Urban Studies 37 (2): 343–366.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ehrenberg, Lewis A. 1981. Steppin Out: New York Nightlife and the Transformation of American Culture. University of Chicago Press.

  7. Farrer, James, and Andrew Field. 2015. Shanghai Nightscapes: A Nocturnal Biography of a Global City. Chicago: University of Chicago.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  8. Farrer, James. 2009. “Shanghai Bars: Patchwork Globalization and Flexible Cosmopolitanism in Reform-era Urban Leisure Spaces.” Chinese Sociology and Anthropology 42 (2): 22–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Farrer, James. 2016. “Nishiogology: Tokyo Urban Studies Research.” Accessed 10 September 2019. https://www.nishiogiology.org

  10. Farrer, James. 2019a. “Culinary Globalization from Above and Below: Culinary Migrants in Urban Place Making in Shanghai.” In Immigration to China in the Post-reform Era: Destination PRC, edited by Angela Lehmann and Pauline Leonard, 175–199. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  11. Farrer, James. 2019b. International Migrants in China’s Global City: The New Shanghailanders. Abingdon: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  12. Field, Andrew. 2010. Shanghai’s Dancing World: Cabaret Culture and Urban Politics, 1919–1954. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Futamura, Taro, and Kazuaki Sugiyama. 2018. “The Dark Side of the Nightscape: The Growth of Izakaya Chains and the Changing Landscapes of Evening Eateries in Japanese Cities.” Food, Culture & Society 21 (1): 101–117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Hashimoto, Kenji. 2015. Izakaya no Sengoshi [Postwar History of Izakaya]. Tokyo: Shodensha.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Heap, Chad. 2008. Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885–1940. University of Chicago Press.

  16. Hershatter, Gail. 1997. Dangerous Pleasures: Prostitution and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Shanghai. Univ of California Press.

  17. Ho, Swee-Lin. 2015. “‘License to drink’: White-collar Female Workers and Japan’s Urban Night Space.” Ethnography 16 (1): 25–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Ino, Ryoichi. 2014. Izakaya no dansei: Edo no nomi daorebunka [The Birth of the Izakaya: The Drink till You Drop Culture of Edo]. Tokyo: Takuma Gakugeibunku.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Ishigure, Masakazu, and Kosei Hatsuda. 2014. “‘Shinkoichibachizu’ ni miru sengō Tokyo no makketto no kenchiku bunseki” [Architectural Analysis of the Markets of Postwar Tokyo Seen in the “Shinkou Ichiba Map”.] Transactions of AIJ. Journal of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Engineering.

  20. Jacobs, J.M., 2012. “Urban Geographies I Still thinking Cities Relationally.” Progress in Human Geography 36 (3): 412–422.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Jayne, Mark, Sarah L. Holloway, and Gill Valentine. 2006. “Drunk and Disorderly: Alcohol, Urban Life and Public Space.” Progress in Human Geography 30 (4): 451–468.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Latham, Alan. 2003. “Urbanity, Lifestyle and Making Sense of the New Urban Cultural Economy: Notes from Auckland, New Zealand.” Urban Studies 40 (9): 1699–1724.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Li, Hao. 2013. “Angry Shanghai Residents Dump Water on Noisy Foreigners.” China Smack. Accessed 10 September 2019. https://www.chinasmack.com/angry-shanghai-residents-dump-water-on-noisy-foreigners-yongkang-road

  24. Lofland, Lynn. 1991. “The Urban Milieu: Locales, Public Sociability, and Moral Concern.” In Social Organization and Social Process: Essays in Honor of Anselm Strauss, edited by David R. Maines, 189–205. Piscataway, NJ: Aldine Transaction.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Mattson, Greggor. 2015. “Bar Districts as Subcultural Amenities.” City, Culture and Society 6 (1): 1–8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Molasky, Michael. 2014. Nihon no Izakaya Bunka: Akachochin no Miryoku wo Saguru [Japan’s Izakaya Culture: Exploring Fascination of Red Lantern]. Tokyo: Kobunsha Shinsho.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Oldenburg, Ray, 1989. The Great Good Place: Café, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts, and How They Get You through the Day. Saint Paul, MN: Paragon House Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Peiss, Kathy Lee. 1985. Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in New York City, 1880 to 1920. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Quora. 2013. “Is Singapore too Sterile?” Accessed 10 September 2019. https://www.quora.com/Is-Singapore-too-sterile

  30. Ren, Xuefei. 2008. “Forward to the Past: Historical Preservation in Globalizing Shanghai.” City & Community 7 (1): 23–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Suttles, Gerald D. 1984. “The Cumulative Texture of Local Urban Culture.” American Journal of Sociology 90 (2): 283–304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Taniguchi, Koichi. 2017. Nihon no yoru no kōkyō-ken: Sunakku kenkyū josetsu [Japan’s Nighttime Public Sphere: An Introduction to Snack Research]. Tokyo: Shiromizusha.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Teruoka, Yasutaka. 1989. “The Pleasure Quarters and Tokugawa Culture.” In Eighteenth Century Japan: Culture and Society, edited by C. Andrew Gerstle, 3–32. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Watanabe, Hidetsuna. 2016. Shinjuku Gorudengai Monogatari [The Gtory of Shinjuku Golden Gai]. Tokyo: Kondansha.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Weinbaum, Alys Eve, Lynn M. Thomas, Priti Ramamurthy, Uta G. Poiger, Madeleine Yue Dong, and Tani E. Barlow, eds. 2008. The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, And Globalization. Duke University Press.

  36. Zukin, Sharon. 2011. Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to James Farrer.

Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Farrer, J. Grimy Heritage: Organic Bar Streets in Shanghai and Tokyo. Built Heritage 3, 76–88 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03545745

Download citation

Keywords

  • China
  • cultural governance
  • Japan
  • nightlife
  • night-time economy
  • urban studies