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Exceptional Japanese Houses

Residential Design from 1945 to the Present

December 5, 2023
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Talks+ past event

Imagine a tower-like dwelling made of tiny, triangular rooms stacked one above another—or a home with 18 rooms, each barely bigger than the furniture it holds. Since the end of World War II, Japanese architects have produced some of the most exceptional homes in the world. The Japanese House Since 1945, a new book by architect Naomi Pollock, presents the most compelling examples of these exceptional homes and highlights key developments in form, organization, material, architectural expression and family living for over eight decades. At this talk, the author will discuss a selection of the homes featured in her book. Moderated by Yoko Kawai, lecturer at Yale School of Architecture and co-founder of Mirai Work Space. Followed by a book sale and signing.

“This book examining Japanese residential architecture in detail from 1945 onwards can be said to be a realistic history of post-war Japanese society, as seen through the filter of architectural design… The chain of creativity that began in the architectural world of post-war Japan remains unbroken—this book conveys that sense of hope.”

—Architect Tadao Ando, from his Foreword to The Japanese House Since 1945


Naomi Pollock is an American architect and author who lived in Tokyo for 30 years. She writes about design and architecture in Japan. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Dwell, Kinfolk, Nikkei Asian Review, Wallpaper* and Architectural Record, for which she is a Contributing Editor. In addition to Japanese Houses Since 1945, Pollock has written Modern Japanese House, Jutaku: Japanese HousesSou Fujimoto and Japanese Design Since 1945: A Complete Sourcebook. She was also the editor of NUNO: Visionary Japanese Textiles. She holds Masters degrees in architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering. In recognition of her contributions as a journalist and critic, Pollock was invited into the College of Fellows of The American Institute of Architects in 2018.

Yoko Kawai, Ph.D., is Lecturer at Yale School of Architecture, principal of Penguin Environmental Design L.L.C., and co-founder of Mirai Work Space. She researches, educates and designs architecture to promote and develop “space for well-being” by applying Japanese spatial concepts.

Photo Shinjiro Yamada; © Naomi Pollock; Courtesy of Thames & Hudson.

Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional support for cultural programs is provided by an anonymous donor and the Sandy Heck Lecture Fund.

  • Tuesday, December 5, 2023
  • 6:30 pm
  • In-Person Event
  • Reserved Tickets
  • $16 Nonmembers
  • $12 Members
  • $12 Seniors/Students
  • $12 Person with Disability

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