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Secret Cities
March 4, 2003 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Hints of a secret city beneath Tokyo Japanese foreign correspondent Shun Akiba says that after examining various maps of Tokyo, and finding large inconsistences, he has found evidence of a huge network of tunnels beneath the city of Tokyo. A large underground city beneath an aboveground one is not unheard of, as Beijing has this one, but the odd part is, (assuming this story is true,) is that Shun says there has been a coverup and a "...conspiracy to silence [me]," with officials being "...defensive and noncooperative..."
posted by Snyder (30 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
What an interesting story, whether he's mistaken or not. I want to steal it and turn it into a thinly veiled novel. Talk about your metaphors on metaphors. What does a community do if it discovers that its picture of itself - its maps - have been grafted and edited for reasons no one can talk about? What happens to the man who tries to travel the spaces erased from public memory?
posted by sacre_bleu at 10:08 AM on March 4, 2003


You're all going to be thankful when Mechagodzilla rises from these secret tunnels when Tokyo is attacked by Mothra and the Robotic Kim Jong Il.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:13 AM on March 4, 2003


Another city with an older city beneath it: Seattle
posted by jonson at 10:18 AM on March 4, 2003


Morlocks!
posted by PenDevil at 10:30 AM on March 4, 2003


Damn you Stan Chin. too late!..my line....MY LINE *softly weeps*
posted by troutfishing at 10:31 AM on March 4, 2003


Moscow is also a good one for the secret underground
posted by y0mbo at 10:35 AM on March 4, 2003


You can read all about the city under Tokyo in this book. Well, city might be a bit strong of a term, but it's a good read none the less. Interesting tie-in.
posted by daver at 10:38 AM on March 4, 2003


Has anyone read Haruki Murakami's "A Wild Sheep Chase" or even the SuperFrog short story in "Quake"? Reading this story totally made me think of those tales -- a secret organization that mysteriously, covertly controls pretty much all levels of existence and threatens to erase from existence a man who publishes a photo of a sheep that shouldn't exist and a subterranean battle for the survival of tokyo, respectively. OK, so sumamries don't do it jsutice, but there's resonance. Really. I'm not paranoid. am I? Is Murakami?
posted by chandy72 at 10:38 AM on March 4, 2003


"Why am I ignored? Can I be on to something, and there is a conspiracy to silence me? I believe so."

Shun sounds like he might need a bit of therapy. Perhaps he needs to take the tinfoil hat off of his head and go outside for a while.
posted by bradth27 at 10:43 AM on March 4, 2003




chandy72 - there is no secret society, even though it often seems as if there might be one. But you're not paranoid, really.

The strings are all pulled "from above", by the gnostic Demiurge

bwahahahahaha!
posted by troutfishing at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2003


The postwar General Headquarters (No. 5) was a most mysterious place. Eidan's records of the construction of the Hibiya Line (No. 6) are hazy to say the least. As for the "new" O-Edo Line (No. 7), "that existed already." Which begs the question, where did all the money go allocated for the tunneling?
FROM: DR. MOROBOSHI ATARU
SATELLITE TEL: 874-762-918-985.
SATELLITE FAX: 874-762-918-986.

ATTN:PRESIDENT/C.E.O.

STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL & URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL.

RE: TRANSFER OF USD $21,500.000 (TWENTY - ONE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS ONLY).

I AM A MEMBER OF THE NIPPON GENERAL AND TRANSPORTATION ENGINEERING CO. LTD. SOMETIME AGO, A CONTRACT WAS AWARDED TO MY FIRM IN THE MATTER OF IN THE HIBIYA AND O-EDO SUBWAY LINES BY THE JAPANESE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION.

THIS CONTRACT WAS OVER INVOICED TO THE TUNE OF US$ 21.5MILLION DOLLARS. THIS WAS DONE DELIBRATELY. THE OVER - INVOICING WAS A DEAL BY MY COMPANY TO BENEFIT FROM THE PROJECT.

WE NOW WANT TO TRANSFER THIS MONEY, WHICH IS IN A SUSPENSE ACCOUNT WITH THE TOKYO SOWA BANK, INTO ANY OVERSEA ACCOUNT, WHICH WE EXPECT YOU TO PROVIDE FOR US...
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:59 AM on March 4, 2003 [1 favorite]


chandy - I read "Wild Sheep Chase" last summer and I can see the secret organization connection.

The underground world remindes me more of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere
posted by jazon at 10:59 AM on March 4, 2003


FROM: DR. MOROBOSHI ATARU
Hee!
Hen to hen o atsamete motto hen ni shimashoo!

posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:13 AM on March 4, 2003


maybe it's a microscopic dark city, changing one city block at a time and no one remembers how the past version looked at all.

saw this off william gibson's blog today (one day, he'll learn how to A HREF...*sniff*); thanks for bringing it here to discuss, Snyder. the link made me start searching through the maps of tokyo's subway system, but i became distracted by the architecture (as always).
posted by myopicman at 11:40 AM on March 4, 2003


I think Canada has it right, they at least admit they have underground cities, and encourage people to go and spend their dollars there. (Or, in a less sinister fashion, it's a great idea in such a cold climate, since the underground city features miles of tunnels between places in Montreal)

There's an underground city (not a secret one) of sorts on London's Docklands. You have access to residential properties, the financial district buildings, a shopping mall, and the monorailesque Docklands Light Railway without ever going outside.

There are even large underground works in Croydon, a large conurbation fifteen miles south of London. Locally speculation is high as to what's down there (one of the stronger rumors is that it's a site of a governmental nuclear bunker to where the leaders can flee in times of trouble). Some 'urban explorers' managed to get into a bit of it and posted their exploits on the Web.

Underground cities, like Montréal's, fascinate me because they have some sort of 'space station' ideal. The whole idea of arcologies and having people live and work in an unexposed unnatural environment is quite fascinating. Personally, I'd live inside all the time if I could.
posted by wackybrit at 11:45 AM on March 4, 2003


And if you're not familiar with the works of sci-fi author J.G.Ballard, he has a short story set in the future where everyone lives 'inside', and has absolutely no concept of 'outside' at all, since the Earth is one giant city.

The story revolves around a guy who has 'crazy thoughts' of finding the 'edge' of the city, and ends up getting on an express train which takes him to 700,000th St. (or similar) but then changes straight back to 1. He then realises that the 'city' is a spherical floating ball.. i.e. Earth.

Another similar story, in a similar environment, shows how humans have no concept of wildlife or 'flying' in general, since everything is indoors.

I'm so far off-topic now.. but what would it be like to grow up with no concept of 'outside', I wonder? Perhaps the Japanese are doing tests with warped humans down in the depths? :-)
posted by wackybrit at 11:49 AM on March 4, 2003


Speaking of Murakami, his novel "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" also features an underground city beneath Tokyo. Instead of being populated by a conspiracy it's inhabited by a group of amphibious flesh eating little moorlocks called INKlings. They grab subway workers and the odd hapless bum, and the government looks the other way because some of the tunnels have exits right under the Diet (the Japanese parliament). So maybe they're trying to keep him out for his own good.
posted by Grimgrin at 11:50 AM on March 4, 2003


Rome has some nice underground parts, too. And then you also have Paris' catacombs. It almost seems like life underground is way more interesting than the usual day-to-day living under the sun...
posted by roel at 12:06 PM on March 4, 2003


May I just mention Asimov's Caves of Steel on the subject of underground cities?

And Kathy Ireland's imortal "Alien From LA" which is very much 'Mad Max' meets 'Journey to the Center of the Earth'? She ends up in an underground world, where no one believes in a 'surface world'. Except for the secret police, who think she and her father are spies...
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:08 PM on March 4, 2003


For the Brits, there's the Subterranea Britannica site. I love this stuff ... ar
posted by carter at 12:53 PM on March 4, 2003


Speaking of secret cities just saw a documentary on the congressional bunker underneath the 5 star resort at Greenbrier. Interestingly enough they now offer tours like this.
posted by aaronscool at 1:49 PM on March 4, 2003


Moscow seems to have some amazing crawl spaces as well: http://www.bullatomsci.org/issues/1997/mj97/mj97ilnitsky.html

I was in Osaka a few years ago during the very humid Summer season. I wandered around town and wondered where all the people were. After a few days I realized they were there -- I just couldn't see them. There were about a zillion people underneath the city. One can walk for *kilometers* without ever having to see daylight.
posted by MemeTransport at 2:10 PM on March 4, 2003


A secret city beneath Tokyo? Sounds like someone's discovered the GeoFront from Neon Genesis Evangelion...
posted by SenshiNeko at 2:58 PM on March 4, 2003


There are sixth-century underground "cities" beneath Cappadoccia in central Turkey -- built by the Christians to hunker down and hide from the various hordes that swept across Asia Minor every now and then. They can go down 300+ feet, and they're completely fascinating to visit, with wineries, stables, ventilation shafts, and even tunnels to other underground cities miles away.
posted by Vidiot at 5:41 PM on March 4, 2003


Slithy_Tove: Thank you, thank you, thank you...brilliant comment.

Hey, so I'm easily amused...sue me.
posted by davidmsc at 5:50 PM on March 4, 2003


Conspiracy theory: There is an underground city, and it is kept secret by the government and a consortium of real estate barons in order to keep housing prices up on the surface.
posted by Hildago at 7:05 PM on March 4, 2003


E.M. Forster's The Machine Stops(1909). Eerily prescient.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 7:21 PM on March 4, 2003


they're alive, they're awake
while the rest of the world is asleep
below the mine shaft roads
it will all unfold
there's a world going on
Underground...

I grew up in Missouri, and spent much of my youth exploring the inky blackness of the thousands of miles of caves that criss-cross the state. Oh, the things that I saw... Subterranean tunnelling goes back further than man, you see. I learned even more when I studied geology and xenobiology at Miskatonic, my alma mater...
posted by kaibutsu at 4:41 AM on March 5, 2003


Well, DUH, they gotta keep the giant robots SOMEWHERE...
posted by timecube at 1:03 PM on March 5, 2003


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