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THIS WEEK: Laura Neitzel ‘The Life We Longed For: Danchi Housing and the Middle-Class Dream in Postwar Japan’

Multi-story apartment building with balconies.

October 20, 2022

In the 1950s, high-rise housing projects called danchi appeared on Japan’s urban perimeters to address the nation’s urgent housing crisis after World War II. With modern kitchens, private baths, and steel doors that locked out intrusive neighbors, and inhabited by aspiring middle-class families that could afford refrigerators, washing machines, electric rice cookers and other new objects of consumer desire, the danchi quickly entered the social imaginary as a “life to long for.”