I thought this entire article explaining how Roppongi Hills is a controversial blueprint for Tokyo’s new breed of high-rise was quite interesting. The following passage was especially enlightening:

The Roppongi neighbourhood is in the heart of the Yamanote, an area of the city centre ringed by the railway line – what Tokyo historian Edward Seidensticker called the “high city”, where the “proper people” lived. Except that Roppongi wasn’t considered proper. During the pre-modern era and blessed with abundant ground water, the area was populated by samurai warriors who supplemented their measly sinecures by raising goldfish. The tradition continued: the first head of the Roppongi Hills residents’ association, Tamotsu Hara, used to breed goldfish himself before his house was condemned and he moved to a comfortable corner unit on the 41st floor.

Before the war, Roppongi was home to the Japanese military; afterwards, the Americans used it for a base that outlasted the occupation. By the high-powered 1980s it had became Tokyo’s designated exotic demimonde, famous for bars and discos frequented by foreign residents and servicemen on the prowl. It was never as respectable as the nearby neighbourhoods, but it was on the edge of the commercial district that Minoru Mori’s family was quickly filling up with tall office buildings. In 1986, he gained permission from the Tokyo prefectural government to redevelop Roppongi, the biggest such project in the city’s history.

I had no idea Roppongi used to be a military town, especially with a base, but it sure explains why it has had such a lasting impression on foreigners in Tokyo.

What has been recently built in Futako-Tamagawa – the Rise shopping center and apartment complexes in particular – seems to have taken a lot of inspiration from Roppongi Hills.