Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi
During my last one year and half I lived in Asakusa which is is the center of Tokyo’s “shitamachi” (literally “low city”), one of Tokyo’s districts, where the spirit of Edo (prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo) still exists. For many centuries, Asakusa used to be Tokyo’s leading entertainment district. During Edo times (1603-1867), when the district was still located outside the city limits, Asakusa was the site of kabuki and rakugo theaters. And was famous for its large red light district. Modern types of entertainment, including movie and comedy theaters, started in Asakusa in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Even today many Japanese movie, theater and comedy stars started their career in Asakusa.
Today when I passed the Sumida River Boat Terminal at the Asakusa Bashi (Asakusa bridge), I heard some music playing. My ears pulled me to the side of the boat terminal building, and I found a band playing Japanese popular music of the 30s and 40s. The band members were dressed in the fashion of that time. Especially the singer represented perfectly that time. The songs are about sake (Japanese rice wine) and about men coming together and sharing a bottle of sake. I don’t know how you want me to describe the music but how about Edo polka and country music?