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This beautiful photo collection, sourced from a Korean website, takes us back to Tokyo and Seoul in the ’60s, when both cities were undergoing a period of renewal, redefining themselves after years of war. But with Japan’s reconstruction efforts beginning in 1945, after World War II, and Korea’s reconstruction starting almost a decade later, in 1953, after the Korean War, the photos depict two very different levels of progress. While equally beautiful to us, these photos have inevitably become another point of debate between net users from the two countries.

The following images depict Tokyo, a lively and futuristic city that hosted the Olympics in 1964 and ran the first bullet train in the same year. Korean commenters were divided between criticism for the lack of progress between these pictures and present-day Tokyo and, on the other hand, praise for the city’s modern reconstruction. Japanese internet users were confused by the praise and questioned why Koreans wanted to look at pictures of Tokyo.

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And now to the Seoul collection, also originally posted on the Korean website. Koreans were quite self-critical with these photos, commenting on the poor living conditions and likening the difference between Tokyo and Seoul to the difference between modern-day Seoul and North Korea. Japanese commenters weren’t pleased, criticising Koreans for coming up with the idea to compare the two cities in a photo gallery.

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Regardless of the bickering between the two countries over these images, we’d like to see this photo gallery for what it is: a beautiful document recording an important era in history. Both nations have the shared experience of rebuilding their nations from the rubble of war. Hopefully one day they can reconcile their differences and become better friends.

Source: Kaikai Hanno / Neil Mishalov