This essay introduces the stories of four former residents of a municipal housing complex built in the late 1950s in central Tokyo. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the interviewees and their families had found shelter in and around an abandoned Imperial Japanese Army base. After moving them into concrete housing blocks in order to hide their settlement prior to Tokyo's hosting of the Olympics in 1964, the city moved them again in preparation for the 2020 Olympics. Their stories reveal the ways that war and defeat left the city’s population to fend for themselves, as well as the long tug-of-war that ensued between the interests of settlers and those of the municipal and national governments.
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