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Story behind high-rise apartments in Japan

Matome News
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 18:51
In old days, there were not a lot of high-rise apartments in Japan due to multiple reasons.
firstly, it requires high-level of skills to develop high-rise apartments safely.
Secondly, Japanese people tend to wish to own their own houses, not like sharing spaces with other families in the air.
Typical 一軒家 (isolated house) in Japan
Typical 一軒家 (isolated house) in Japan
This image is typical 一軒家 in Japan.
In old days it was considered to be quite common dream to own a house like this.
But recently young generations don’t care so much about these things.
And moreover, many young people wish to own a room in a high-rise apartment because they consider high-rise apartment to be a status of their success.
There high-rise apartments are called “Tower mansion” in Japanese-English.
Typical Tower Mansions
Typical Tower Mansions
There are not very specific conditions to be called Tower Mansions, but usually they have more than 40 stories and include very big meeting rooms or recreation spaces.

Restaurants and supermarkets are everywhere around apartment.
Typical Tower Mansion room
Typical Tower Mansion room
These kind of modern clean design is very typical for Tower Mansions.
These designs are similar to very expensive hotel room.
Actually, these Tower mansions sell very well. Not only Japanese people but also foreign rich people buy them as investments.
Along with these growths of needs for Tower mansion, major developers keep building new ones.
Especially, Toyosu, Musashi Kosugi, and Kachi Doki are famous for being overpopulated with Tower mansions.

One of the inhabitants in a Tower mansion said
“I bought one room among these Tower mansions
I bought super upper floors. My apartment used to command a great view at first, but developers keep building new apartments around mine.So I can only see other building from my window now. ”

I assume this trend will keep on going for a while because Tokyo Olympics is coming 3 years later.

Dark side of “Tower Mansion”

However, there are dark sides of Tower mansions as well.

First of all, who lives at Tower mansions?
The answer is they are mostly people from outside urban areas.

Those who were born and grew up in Tokyo tends to live in the more silent traditional locations such as Shoto, Shibuya where “Really rich for generations” people live.

But people who came from non-urban areas who earn some extent of money tend to wish to show off their wealth and end up to live at Tower mansions.

These 成金 (new rich) people tend to have competitive nature.
Therefore they sometimes start to discriminate other dwellers in the same Tower mansion.

And surprisingly they discriminate on other dwellers based on "Which floor do they live? higher than me or lower?".

For example, those who lives at 38th floor tend to look down on dwellers at 36th floor.

Another problem is, people who live at upper level can use specially dedicated “1F-----36F,37F,38F…” kind of elevator.
This system also provokes discrimination among inhabitants in the same building saying “Oh that family uses lower level elevator”.
Tower Mansion's elevator
Tower Mansion's elevator
Each elevator has different floor destination such as lower stories, middle stories, higher stories.

This system can be a hotbed of bullying and discrimination.

Biggest Tower Mansion in Tokyo has nearly 3000 rooms in one building.

Human relationships in these apartment can be really complicated and often encounters uncountable troubles with neighbors.

And these discrimination among parents generation will also affect their kids’ bullying problem.


A real estate specialist pointed out those who buy a room at Tower mansion are generally ostentatious people.
They buy Tower mansion to show off their wealth and they will likely regret after purchase due to human relationships or sense of inferiority against inhabitants of higher stories.

When real estate sales person talk about Tower Mansion, they only mention about the bright side of Tower Mansion.
Maybe many people are being cheated by them or simply dazzled by fabulous and gorgeous designs.

It seems there are a lot of traps and dark sides behind the luxury looks of Tower mansions.



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