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Japanese Urban Space
Chapter II: Principles of Spatial Order

Japan Story is proud to present parts of the legendary book on Japanese urban space, Nihon no toshi-kukan, in English translation for the first time since its 1968 publication. We have chosen those chapters that illuminate the thinking behind and the values characteristic of Japanese space, addressing spatial formation, techniques, and the effects found in various urban settlements.
Written by Toshi-dezain kenkyutai [Research Group for Urban Design], translated by Alfred Birnbaum
  • 1.

    Translator’s note: “Unseen” is intended as a paradox. In Japanese architecture and design, open and unfilled ma elements are always given considerable conscious attention. Otherwise invisible spacing is regarded (hence actually seen) as contributing the greatest aesthetic and utilitarian qualities to spatial configurations.

  • 2.

    Also named “City in the Air.”