“It is said that tempura...” noted Roland Barthes, “has for its envelope nothing but time, which has solidified it… [R]efined by the Japanese techniques of cancellation and exemption, it is the nutriment of another time… whose real name would be the interstices without specific edges, or again: the empty sign.”
The porous batter contains within it an equally vacuous superstructure. The denaturing, transfigural process of “time” (tempura’s etymological root) incarnate.
Like the battered surfaces of tempura, the vegetations overtook the battered masonry bastions and demarcate the periphery of the Center; both of Tokyo and its social hierarchy. Shortly after the Meiji Restoration, the feudal shogun’s castle was reappropriated for a new capital palace apt for the seat of reinstated imperial power. The donjon, outdated and made impotent from modern warcraft, no longer needed the outer defensive walls from Other’s invasion or civil wars. The Tenno within is, rather, protected by an invisible, highly regulated, hierarchical superstructure. Ironically though, throughout most of its history, and to this day, he is devoid of any actual powers. Thus, the Center commands the highest geopolitical respect but lacks any real objective consequence.
He and, therefore, the Center are protected instead by the image of being otherworldly consequential, and the porous overgrowth masks the true void within. Conversely, the images of battered periphery protects the citizens from the reality of their inner hollowness; that their subject of reverence is an image of revery projected onto a being stripped of individuality and choice.
However, the citizenry is too occupied, too happy to exist in their eery bubbles, desensitized by their insatiable appetite for vapid images. The image of the Center has become just “another” of many delectable stimulants and condiments to enrich their inner blandness so regulated by the superstructure of culture. The humanity, in the name of hunger for consumption, has gorged on quantity of images, rather than the quality of spectacles. Architect too also often exists in this processing factory of images; both as sommeliers of empty consumerism and patrons anticipating the next scrumptious plate of image du jour to provide some inspirations for their self-relevance.