- 国際日本学 = INTERNATIONAL JAPANESE STUDIES (ISSN:18838596)
- vol.19, pp.3-25, 2022-02-10
This paper examines Terada Torahikoʼs unique perspective toward the Ginza area in Tokyo through a close reading of his texts. Terada Torahiko(寺田寅彦1878-1935) was one of the renowned Japanese physicists whom he called himself Ginbura-an-Shujin (Master of Ginza walker). His enthusiasm toward Ginza led him to stroll around the area for his entire lifetime. Ginza was the best place for Japanese modernists to encounter Western civilization at that time. Analyzing Teradaʼs text shows how one Japanese intellectual who had a great longing for Western civilization was attracted to the place.During his youth, Terada had his first Western food at a restaurant in Ginza and soon became a coffee lover. After returning from study abroad in Europe, he constantly enjoyed shopping around the Ginza area and purchasing imported goods, such as records, musical instruments, picture books, and so on. The coffee shops were also his favorite place in Ginza, and he even wrote an essay entitled Introduction to Coffee Philosophy(『珈琲哲学 序説』).One reason he often visited Ginza was that a cup of coffee always helped him refresh his mind and obtain some inspiration for works.In his essay Ginza Alps(『銀座アルプス』),Terada referred to mob psychology and suggested that many people visiting Ginza are feeling a sense of emptiness in their lives. Terada also had a similar sentiment and shared his sense of emptiness and loneliness in letters sent to his close friends. Nevertheless, by visiting Ginza, he could somewhat fill in the empty hole in his heart, even just a brief moment.In 1923, the Great Kanto earthquake occurred, and Ginza was also devastated by fire. As a physicist, Terada energetically researched earthquake-stricken areas. In Ginza Alps, Terada emphasized the significance of disaster prevention and suggested building a monument in Ginza to remember the earthquake. He also warned of fires on high-rise buildings and wrote measures to escape from a fire. As a Ginza lover physicist, he earnestly examined the ways to maintain the town for the future.