I was one of the four guest speakers at SOAS EAST ASIA CONFERENCE 2014, which took place at the Brunei Gallery in London on 11th March 2014.
I began my lecture with a few questions, one of which was: how is the idea of Japan-ness in architecture preserved and how is it strengthened?
By showing many examples, I remarked at the end that the idea of Japan-ness in architecture comes in many shapes and forms, that it is not at all static but fundamentally fluid, being much more malleable that we think.
I was feeling a little emotional on that day, as it was exactly a year ago when I was traveling in Tohoku to report on the reconstruction efforts 2 years on from when the disaster struck the area in 2011.
By the way, I often use the word ‘Japan-ness,’ as in the title of this lecture. I like the sound of Japan-ness, it has an open-ended feel.
The word has been borrowed from Arata Isozaki’s book called Japan-ness in Architecture, published in 2006 by the MIT press, translated into English by Sabu Kohso. I also use it in the introductory essay of my book, New Architecture in Japan.