Yasushi Noguchi Projects Installations, Public Projects, Software, Photos etc.

Tokyo Air Raids Oral History Map
Field Art 007
Tadahito Yamamoto / Ai Saotome / Yasushi Noguchi


Interview Video by Shinji TERUYA

Documentation Video (on Vimeo)


Tokyo Air Raids Oral History Map is a video archive of talks by those who experienced the Tokyo Air Raids, allowing users to view the video superimposed onto 8-layer maps which show the changes that took place in the city of Tokyo. Using digital map software called c-loc developed by our team, users can view the videos of war survivors, smoothly travelling around Tokyo from the early 20th century to the present. We have reached the time when the number of the people alive who have actually experienced World War II is decreasing, meaning that the war will soon no longer be living history but merely part of the historical record. It is due to this eventuality that this work was produced to connect the past and the present in a realistic way through videos, and digital technologies housed in a museum located in a location damaged by Tokyo Air Raids.


This work is not solely a collection of war experiences, but also includes videos and voices of the people who have experienced Tokyo Air Raids from around the beginning of the war to the present. Each talk has been divided into 10 to 15 episodes placed on the map. By watching the videos one by one, users can relive the lives of the people of the time, and consider the connections between the prewar/post war eras and the significance for the present. The aim is also to promote understanding of the experience of the air raids in the form of personal histories.
This work was realized through close unification of the museum’s accumulated historical studies and social education, know-how of video production, and digital map software technology. C-loc, key of the map software, produces a 3D map space that presents the history by laying maps, similar to a stratum, along a time axis. Various media formats including videos, photographs, voices, and texts can be embedded into the map space and users can interact with them freely by using a trackpad. The Oral History Map can be regarded as one modern application of the digital map technology in educational contents. C-loc also has the advantage of adding and changing data by simple operations. Unlike many digital archive projects led by engineering researchers, this archive project work can continue to evolve by closely connecting the digital map production with the educational field.


Visitors will be able to virtually travel through a 3D space by operating the trackpad, thus evoking the feeling of the historical time and space from the “inside”. Users will be able to enter the world of the Oral History Map by touching it as if handling a smartphone. Through finger motions familiar to any user of modern media, users can perform interactive communication on demand with various talk videos and encounter profound experiences embedded in their history.

3D map mode (Figure1) is a default view in which participants can freely translate, rotate and scale layers in a perspective view. Time’s arrow goes from the bottom to the top of the interface. It is the layer of time.
In Time Machine Mode (Figure2), time goes back and forward by using the interface. By this means, participants can intuitively move through the time-and-space map like digging strata.



Figure 1
Figure 2


This work has been exhibited since 2014 and updated by adding more videos until now at the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage in Koto-ku, Tokyo. The Center is a private museum established in 2002. Since there is no other public museum of Tokyo Air Raids in Tokyo, the center plays a central role for the study, exhibition, and social education on the topic, and about 13,000 people and students from about 150 mostly junior high schools visit the center every year. The students form a group of 4 to 5 persons and gather around the monitor. They move the map, play the videos, listen to the voices of eyewitnesses’ accounts of the air raids and have discussions on them. This experience is somehow more evocative than just hearing the stories in a video booth separate from the exhibition. The work is also used for the training of curators and volunteers who need to learn various aspects of the air raid experiences in a limited time.
The project was also exhibited at the Inter Communication Center in Tokyo and selected as the Jury Recommended Work of Japan Media Arts Festival 2015.

Text by Tadahito Yamamoto


The exhibition at the Inter Communication Center in Tokyo, Japan, 2014





Software: Custom Software written in Objective-C
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.9


Mac Pro
Full HD Video Projector

Space Requirements

Approximately W6m x D6m x H3m


Project Direction: Tadahito Yamamoto
Interview Video: Ai Saotome, Shinji Teruya
Digital Media & Software: Yasushi Noguchi, Jun Masuda
Acknowledgement: Seiji Ishibashi, Yutaka Kimura, Osamu Sugita, Yukiko Nakajo, Masahiko Yamanobe
Organization: The Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage and The Great Tokyo Air Raids Testimony Video Project
Base Map: Topographic Map of 1 : 25,000 produced by Geospatial Information Authority of Japan
This research is supported by the Toyota Foundation
Document Video: Hideto Miyuki, Yasushi Noguchi
c-loc Software Development: Yasushi Noguchi, Jun Masuda
This work is supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency