I am a Japanese Urban Explorer (haikyo) Living in Tokyo

December 8, 2014

Short essay by neji_maki_dori.


Mas issue tokyo i am a japanese urban explorer haikyo living in tokyo 01

Seikaryo dormitory, Tokyo, 2013. © neji_maki_dori.

Tokyo can be considered a tough city for urban exploration. The life of an abandoned building is quite short due to the high price of land. However, some abandoned buildings can live a long life. “Seikaryo dormitory,” a three-story building located in a quiet residential area in Tokyo, was one of them.

The history of this building is quite long. Built by the Governor-General of Taiwan in 1927, the building was originally used as a dormitory for overseas students from Taiwan. After World War II, Taiwan was no longer under Japanese sovereignty and the dormitory’s ownership and management became unclear. However, residents continued to live in the building during the following decades.

In 2007, after leading a checkered life, this building suffered a calamity: a fire took the lives of two women and seven other people were injured. The building was severely damaged, although parts of the upper floors remained intact. Most likely, this accident accelerated the implementation of a legal framework for the building and, in 2013, it was torn down. A building gone all too soon.