Can Meiji Shrine Be Saved?

Can Meiji Shrine Be Saved?

The Concrete Jungle & The Issue with Meiji

The urban jungle we call Tokyo can be an unpleasant place to live.  The city is gray and lacks green spaces for its inhabitants. Parks and shrine areas, like Meiji, are important because they have lots of green.

The most famous tree in the city is the 634m steel and glass monstrosity ironically named Skytree. In a city with so little green space, the joke is on the inhabitants that live there (us included).

With so few parks and green spaces in the city, one would hope that the government would try to improve the quality of life by planting more trees. Sadly, it seems the Japanese government has plans to go in the other direction.




Part I

The ‘first’ part is designed for Japanese learners. It’s entirely in Japanese, so if you can’t speak the language it’s ok to proceed directly to the second part.


Part II

This is the main video lesson. It’s ok to start here if you don’t need additional information in Japanese.


Video Vocab | Meiji Shrine

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi Culture: Meiji Shrine
A Businessman Trying to Hide Behind a Rock (

Did you have any difficult understanding the video? Don’t worry, there’s a lot of difficult phrases in there. We made a vocabulary list to help give you a better understanding of the slang, idioms, and difficult words used throughout the video.


➣Nouns 名詞

◆Public green space

Areas that can be accessed freely by all citizens where the land is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, water sources, shrubs, or other types of vegetation.

Tokyo has a serious lack of public green spaces.




A tall building. Although there is no universally accepted definition of how tall a building must be to be considered a skyscraper, many modern sources currently define skyscrapers as being at least 100 meters or 150 meters in height.

New York City has some of the most iconic skyscrapers in the world.



◆Financial issue

Being unable to pay debts over the short or long term.

My family had a lot of financial issues after my father lost his job.



◆Local government

The governing body of a town or district.

The local government decided to cancel this year’s festival due to financial issues.




After the war the country went through a period of redevelopment.

After the war the country went through a period of redevelopment.



◆Meiji Shrine Garden

The outer garden of Meiji Shrine.

The Meiji Shrine Garden is loved by Tokyoites and tourists alike.



➣Verbs 動詞


To undermine the principles of; corrupt.

The losing candidate denounced the election as rigged so he could subvert the will of the people.



➣Idioms イディオム

◆Keep [people] in the dark

In a state of ignorance, uninformed.

The company keep all the workers in the dark after the merger so they wouldn’t quit.



◆In the crosshairs

In a position in which other people are eager to criticize or attack.

After publishing an article about the new president, the reporter was in the crosshairs of the government.



Additional Resources

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi Culture: Meiji Shrine
A Wooden Torii Gate at Meji-jingu; Tokyo, Japan (

Want to learn more about the issue or help? Here are some websites and additional resources to help you get started. Petition 01 (English/Japanese/French)

If you want to get more involved with the issue, you can start by signing a petition. This petition is in English, so if you’re a non native Japanese speaker this might be a better one to have a look at Protect Meiji Jingu Gaien. Petition 02 (Japanese)

This petition is in Japanese, so if you’re a native Japanese speaker this might be a better one to have a look at Rething the Development Plan.

World Cities Culture Forum

If you want to see how Tokyo ranks, in terms of green space, you can start here on World Cities Culture Forum.


You can read further on the issue with this NHK article.


ウェブサイトと関連情報についてご案内いたします。 Petition 01 (English/French/日本語)


Protect Meiji Jingu Gaien Petition 02 (日本語)



World Cities Culture Forum


World Cities Culture Forum




Keep Studying

English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi
English Stripped Bare Culture Page (G. McGregor/

Don’t stop learning now. Check out one of our other lessons in the follow categories and keep studying.


English Stripped Bare - B. Bearington & Naomi
Ready Steady Travel Homepage (G. McGregor/

You can also check out our sister websites! Both are fully in English, so it’s a good opportunity to practice your reading skills!!!

If you want to improve your cooking or learn a new recipe, you should explore our cooking website and discover more about cooking.

If you like traveling, check out our travel page and read tips how to travel adventurously and safely.




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