SHOWA SNAP: Oji San-chome, Kita Ward, Tokyo, 1967

At 10:00 am on April 20, 1967, a procession of Shinto priests followed by a brass band opened a pedestrian footbridge over a five-way intersection in Tokyo. This type of blessing ceremony is typical of grand openings in Japan, even if the thing that’s opening isn’t super grand. What’s notable about this photo is that in a month’s time both the Toyota 2000GT and Mazda Cosmo Sport would debut, but the traffic on the streets below was still largely comprised of commercial or utility vehicles.

There’s a Toyota ToyoAce truck, Subaru Sambar kei pickup, and Isuzu bus. The big sedans are the ubiquitous Toyota Crown and Nissan Cedric taxis. The smaller cars in the foreground include Nissan Sunny, Toyota Publica, and Mitsubishi Colt and Minica vans. Fewer than a third of the cars appear to be privately owned, and consist of the Crown wagon, Crown sedan, Prince Gloria, and Nissan Bluebird. Cars like the 2000GT and Cosmo Sport were wildly beyond what the average Japanese could afford.

Above is a Google satellite view of the intersection, and here’s what it looks like from street level today.

Image: Kimoken Blog

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This post is filed under: Showa Snap.

3 Responses to SHOWA SNAP: Oji San-chome, Kita Ward, Tokyo, 1967

  1. Negishi no Keibajo said:

    Looks like the end of the line for streetcars here with the bus taking over the route. Unusually devoid of traffic lights & road markings. Probably getting ready to pave over the rails with the overhead wires already gone. My mom used to hate driving on the rails on a wet day. Used to flatten 1 yen coins on the rails. No sign of painted crosswalks; how do you cross the street before the overhead bridge?

  2. speedie said:

    I’m always taken by how few if any sporty cars are seen in 1960s Japan. If this were 1967 USA there would be pony cars and muscle cars aplenty. Such a difference in economic culture.

  3. Mark F Newton-John said:

    Oji-san is Oji San Chome? 😅

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