Criticism of Japanese-Style Architecture and Counterargument on the Dispute about Tradition in the 1950s


羽藤広輔:1950年代伝統論争における和風建築批判と反論 ―吉田五十八の事例に着目して―,デザイン理論,第70号,意匠学会,pp.35-48,2017.7


This paper clarifies the objections to the criticism of Japanese-style architecture based on the “dispute about tradition” and the development of the traditional view by architects involved in such work, particularly Isoya Yoshida (1884–1974) in the 1950s. The author examines his written works (essays, interview articles, and descriptions of architectural works), and sets June 1955, when a representative article of the criticism was published, as the turning point.
The changes to Yoshida’s argument in the latter half of the 1950s included an increase in the use of the word “people,” and the remark that he was not involved much in Ryotei (Japanese-style restaurant) architecture, which he regarded as an apt challenge to test architects’ ability, in the first half of the 1950s. The influence of the criticism from that period can be seen in his writings.
Under these circumstances, “The Heian dynasty in architecture” (March 1958), which showed Yoshida’s definitive views based on the tone of the criticism, was published. In this essay, he pointed out that architecture without emotion was not interesting. He also stated that most Japanese architecture was based on the “Heian Dynasty” because of its modernity, as if to respond the dispute contrasting between “Jomon” and “Yayoi.”
This paper shows that Yoshida was influenced by the criticism of Japanese-style architecture at the time, coordinated his discourse as a response to such criticism, and demonstrated the concept of “Heian Dynasty” as his own traditional view through his design of “The Hall of the Japan Art Academy.”

Criticism of Japanese-Style Architecture and Counterargument on the Dispute about Tradition in the 1950s
―Focusing on the case of Isoya Yoshida―

Kosuke Hato