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A restored interior of a Hasune Danchi apartment built in 1957, exhibited at the Urban Renaissance Agency's Housing Apartment History Hall in Tokyo. Danchi offered residents a new middle-class lifestyle, complete with modern appliances like televisions. 

A restored interior of a Hasune Danchi apartment built in 1957, exhibited at the Urban Renaissance Agency's Housing Apartment History Hall in Tokyo. Danchi offered residents a new middle-class lifestyle, complete with modern appliances like televisions. 

Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg
CityLab
Design

How Tokyo’s Public Housing Defined Japan’s Middle Class

The postwar danchi style of homes lured Japanese salarymen and their families out of the city with suburban comforts and privacy.

(This article is part of our ongoing series exploring the iconic home designs that shaped global cities. Read more from the series and sign up to get the next story sent directly to your inbox.) 

If you think public housing complexes have few fans, a visit to Tokyo might change your mind. In Japan’s capital, modernism enthusiasts make pilgrimages to concrete apartment blocks built in its suburbs in the wake of World War II, drawn by the mesmerizing uniformity of their designs.