This paper inquires about the real conditions and the meaning of urban space during the reconstruction after WWII, mainly using photographic materials, to understand which have been the camera-eye used and the urban image produced. The main materials of investigation are photographs taken in 1945 in Ginza, a central commercial district of Tokyo. An outline of the urban transformation from the 1930’s up to 1945, is followed by the analysis of the photographic documentation of the air raids undertaken in Ginza by the Allied forces, which allows to fi nd out the relationship between photographer and urban space and, fi nally, to clarify the meaning of the urban image brought by the photographs taken from the 1940’s up to the 1950’s. Those photographs, taken during very limited opportunities by a very limited number of persons and from special visual angles possible only in that particular heavily fragmented urban space, enable us to regain the image of the weak. In fact, they represent the viewpoint of the weak, of the discriminated, of the defeated nation’s people and of the citizens, against that of the victorious nations and of the army. Photographing itself had the meaning of regaining what was lost and this "revival of the look" overlapped with the postwar reconstruction of the townscape, which was connected also to creating fi lm and photographic works. In this study, the relationship between the urban space and its image is identifi ed as a social product.
Keywords: Photograph Tokyo Urban space Air raid Post-war Reconstruction