It’s really too bad that human technology didn’t evolve a cheap way to capture mountains of video footage until recently. It would’ve been great to see more of Tokyo during the post-war boom times, especially very beginnings of the golden age of Japanese automobiles. At least we have “A Day in Tokyo,” created in 1968 by the JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization) to spur foreign tourism to the capital city.
The year 1968 was a special time for Japan. It was emerging as a modern country. The Tokyo Olympics had just been held a few years prior. Bullet trains, high-speed expressways, and color television broadcasts were spreading throughout the land. The year before saw the Toyota 2000GT and Mazda Cosmo Sport, Japan’s contemporary sports cars, debut. It must have been incredibly exciting.
While “A Day in Tokyo” doesn’t have a ton of automotive footage it’s still a compelling watch. Starting with sunrise in Tokyo, the short film immerses viewers in the lives of ordinary people going about their business, and continues after sunset into the city’s nightlife. In just 23 minutes you get to live fully in a time long since gone, like Picard in that one episode of Star Trek. Beautiful street scenes showcase wonderful mid-century aesthetics and atmosphere. Our favorite is at 18:57 of a Toyota Crown parked on top of a restaurant we traffic speeds by below. Is it an actual space amidst the urban density, an advertising display, or a freak parking accident? We wish we could take a time machine there to find out.
Thanks to Chet M. for the heads up.