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Culture Bytes, Japanese Cultural Institute

Part 1 Project 2004
Takashi Hojo
University for the Creative Arts Canterbury UK
The project originates from an analysis of Japanese culture and the Japanese cultural exchange program. From this analysis it became clear that the Japanese cultural institute is designed principally as an interface with anyone interested in Japan and its culture. Specifically, perhaps, “What defines the character of life, today, in Japan? What is new in Japan? And, perhaps, how does this fit within the context of the culture Japan’s past? Are there conflicts with current ways of living and traditional? How is this manifested?

In the twentieth century Japanese culture altered direction dramatically via the contact with, (and influence of), European culture (customs/technology). More recently the dynamics of Japanese culture have been characterised by a more involved ‘world view’ e.g. with international study exchange, (as well as corporate business exchange and cross fertilization). In common with many countries, Japan’s indigenous heritage and traditions have been in decline. The logic of this situation might ultimately be analogous with an erasing of culture. However, such a situation affords an opportunity to think about culture and nation and lead campaigns for conserving the original culture of Japan.

During the design process, and out of these realisations, it was ascertained that a guiding principle be an approach mindful of these ideas. And how such conflicts can represented comparatively. The resulting proposal applies two totally different façades on the building. They are bounded but not be fused or synchronized. They give the dynamic, progressive and chaotic image of the Japanese modern culture and the static, conservative and methodical image of the traditional culture.

Takashi Hojo

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