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by Theodore C. Bestor
color, 30 min, 1992
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Miyamoto-cho is a community of Mom-and-Pop stores and family enterprises located near the center of Tokyo. Competition from supermarkets and shopping centers threatens the livelihoods of long-term residents. High land prices tempt owners to tear down old homes and replace them with apartment buildings; this in turn is changing the composition of the population. Against this backdrop, residents strive to maintain the close social ties, symbols of local identity, and community rituals that keep Miyamoto-cho from becoming just another mailing address. Theodore Bestor began his research here in 1979. His prize winning book of the same name is available through Stanford University Press. This documentary is one of a series depicting the variety of life in today's Japan in the context of human problems common to all industrial nations. A comprehensive study guide is available.