TD 0

When looking at old photographs and video, there’s a strange phenomenon that sometimes occurs. Between the visual grain and the way colors bleed together, sometimes those images don’t seem like they’re just from another time, but from another world, one somehow less defined and concrete then the one in which we now live.

Of course, that’s all just outdated technology playing tricks on you. While camera and monitors have certainly gotten better over the years, the resolution of real life hasn’t gone through any upgrades, and the physical world has always been as sharp and vibrant as what we see today. As proof, take a look of these amazing HD videos of Tokyo taken over two decades ago.

The two-part video series, titled HD Scenes of Everyday Life in 1992 Tokyo was uploaded to YouTube by Firestomach, who describes them as being “rare examples of high-definition footage shot in that era.”

While both have deflault playback resolutons of 360p, a quick click will let you bump that all the way up to 720p, allowing you to see Japan’s capital as it was in crystal clarity.

Despite opening with the text “Good-Night Tokyo,” the first video actually starts at sunrise.

▼ The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building had only been open for a year when this shot was taken.

TD 1

▼ These kids are all full-grown adults with jobs now.

TD 3

TD 4

▼ Proof that Shibuya has always been crowded

TD 5

▼ Although the Scramble Intersection looked a little less chaotic before they put up the giant monitors on almost every corner.

TD 8

▼ No Skytree or Roppongi Hills here

TD 6

▼ The Tokyo Stock Exchange, before trading went all-electronic

TD 7

The second video features more shots from around Tokyo.

Some show that things have remained the same for centuries, such as the throngs of visitors that flock to Asakusa’s Sensoji Temple.

TD 9

Likewise, salarymen have always appreciated a frosty mug of beer.

TD 15

Whereas others show how rapidly things are changing.

▼ We can’t remember we saw a bank of pay phones this big.

TD 10

▼ Did this clip of a woman in a one-piece swimsuit feeding a bunch of fish make more sense when the video was taken? We have no idea.

TD 11

TD 12

▼ Ginza’s kabuki theatre, prior to its recent renovation

TD 14

Finally, we get perhaps the two most telling shots of life in Tokyo at the end of the bubble economy. On one hand, we’ve got the city at the height of its clubbing craze, when it wasn’t unusual to see men grooving in business suits and women dancing with fans.

TD 16

While meanwhile, this guy’s working late, in order to keep Japan’s economic miracle going just a bit longer.

TD 17

And of course, both videos are chock-full of early ‘90s haircuts.




Still, seeing the Tokyo of 20-plus years ago in such detail helps to remind us that even then, the city was made up of individuals. They were people with hopes, dreams, routines, and friendships, just like us (even if they did wear their hair differently).

Source, images: YouTube (1, 2)
[ Read in Japanese ]