Synopses & Reviews
With the possible exception of the woodblock print, no other aspect of Japanese culture has been so widely embraced outside Japan as the traditional Japanese home. Interior decorators, architects, and homeowners from the West have been borrowing from Japanese architecture since Frank Lloyd Wright, yet the fundamentals of the Japanese abode remain something of a mystery. What is the age-old sensibility behind it? Why do luminaries in the field hold it up as one of mankind's most successful blends of function, tradition, and nature? Atsushi Ueda ably answers these questions in Inner Harmony, which became a bestseller in his native Japan and continues to be used in high schools and colleges throughout the country. Breaking down the living space into its primary elements-shoji, partitions, pillars, garden, and so on-Ueda reveals the underlying patterns and hidden harmony that took centuries to evolve: he discusses the ways in which shoji exploit the natural light to create a subdued radiance; the way decorated sliding doors and moveable partitions define one's sense of living space; and the function of a miniature garden as viewed from inside the house as well as out. In the manner of John McPhee and Tracy Kidder, Professor Ueda unravels the concealed concepts at work in the Japanese living space, and brings compelling insights and a long-needed clarity to the subject-all in the best tradition of contemporary literary nonfiction.
Leading architectural theorist Atsushi Ueda reveals the history and development of Japanese form and space for dwellings and establishes why its inimitable means of adaptation to natural light is considered to be so influential.
About the Author
ATSUSHI UEDA is a practicing architect and professor at Kyoto Seika University in Kyoto, Japan, and president of an architectural design firm, also in Kyoto. After receiving a doctorate in engineering from Kyoto University in 1971, he went on to write numerous books on architecture, urban planning, and the environment. Inner Harmony
won the Japan Essayists Association award for best publication in 1974. He followed this success with a number of other works in Japanese, and edited a collection of essays published in English as The Electric Geisha: Exploring Japan's Popular Culture
GUNTER NITWHKE has degrees in architecture, urban planning, and Japanese. He taught East Asian architecture and urbanism at Princeton and MIT before moving to Tokyo in 1961. His published books include The Architecture of the Japanese Garden and From Shinto to Ando. Recently, he has been a visiting professor at UCLA and the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. In 1998 he was awarded first prize in the International Urban Competition for his design ideas on the future of Kyoto, where he has lived since the late 1960s.