Image of Tokyo residential vegetable garden in 1944

Tokyo residential vegetable garden in 1944

This is an image of a residential vegetable garden during the war in Tokyo from March 1944, published by Life Magazine. It comes from an amazing urban agriculture website called City Farmer, out of Vancouver, Canada.

United States residents are aware of our country’s World War II “victory gardens,” recently revived by the Obama White House. Yet somehow seeing a similar war-time image in Tokyo, shortly before the city was decimated by fire bombs, is surprising.

In times of war and scarcity, urban residents naturally turned to growing food in their gardens. Are today’s combination of unemployment and climate change enough to generate an equally widespread movement in global cities today? What skills have urban residents lost? What governmental and non-governmental resources could make urban agriculture a significant source of food?

Some images of the Obama’s White House garden after the jump.

US First Lady Michelle Obama at White House vegetable garden White House vegetable garden


  1. Great vintage image and post! It’s so interesting to see how similar people are (and were) around the globe and yet too often, we tend to focus on our differences.

    1. Thank you for your comment Thomas. I like your blog. We are both growing zinnias this summer. My balcony in Tokyo is much smaller than your new garden.

  2. “…vegetable garden during the war in Tokyo, shot by Life Magazine in March 1944.”

    You should correct this. Life Magazine was an American photojournalism company — it is not possible that they were in an enemy country photographing farmers during World War II.

    It is more likely this is a Japanese photo, later acquired by Life magazine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s