“… The fascination with cinema [in Japan] was no less than in the West. Accordingly, many Japanese picture theatres adopted ornate facades after the fashion of the West where, of course, exotic facades were both advertisement and street-set. Old postcards reveal that in Tokyo’s Asakusa amusement district the already exuberant and fanciful fonts were subjected to the same banner-strewn treatment that might obscure a modest machiya veil at festival time.
“Thus, in these cinema districts where banners and building fronts were rival transmitters to the street, dynamic information triumphed over exuberant but static building. Indeed, some interesting graphic analyses of Asakusa theatre streets have been done using old prints and photographs from then nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
“Within the street view, signs are simply highlighted to obscure most of the buildings along the street. If people (as activity) are included with the signs, then there is little actual building to be seen within the picture.”
– Learning from the Japanese City: Looking East in Urban Design, by Barrie Shelton, 2012