Philip Arneill

Photographer
 
SFC
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Nationality: Irish/UK
Biography: Philip Arneill is a documentary photographer and educator who spent 20 years living and working in Tokyo, and is now based in Ireland. He is interested in pursuing autobiography, and the illusory notions of home and belonging, by examining... MORE
Public Story
SFC
Copyright Philip Arneill 2022
Updated Mar 2020
Location Shimokitazawa
Topics Architecture, Documentary, Landscape, Photography, Street, Travel
Shimokitazawa is a small neighbourhood in the south-west of Tokyo, about 5 minutes on the express train from Shibuya station. In 2014 it was placed as No.1 in Vogue's Global Street Style Report: Mapping Out the 15 Coolest Neighborhoods in the World article, hastening the slide into gentrification that had already begun. Traditionally a family-centred neighbourhood with a slew of punk and underground music bars, a handful of famous Off-Broadway-style theatres and hip clothes and record stores, the combination of social media attention, tourist guidebooks and subsequently rising rents have driven out local people and businesses: replacing them with increasing numbers of homogenous chain stores and restaurants targeting the disposable cash of tourists and enthusiastic day trippers. The focus of the developers was always the coveted station area, and since these photos were taken, what was once an atmospheric warren of independent shops, many of which dated to the immediate post-war years, food stalls and standing bars has been completely erased, only to be a replaced with a generic showpiece shopping mall reminiscent of every other station across Japan. These photos hopefully preserve even a little of the ramshackle nature and effortless cool of Shimokitazawa that once made it so attractive, and which have tragically led to its eventual demise.
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