Review Of "The Inner Harmony Of The Japanese House" By A. Ueda

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The 24 brief essays by a practicing architect in Kyoto discuss such essential components of the Japanese house as pillars, roofs, walls, and floors, as well as its distinct features such as shoji, veranda, eaves, fences, and gates, and present the traditional Japanese house in sharp focus, refreshingly and soberly, as an anthropological phenomenon rather than as an aesthetic object. Originally written for newspapers and journals, the essays were compiled into a book in 1974 under the unassuming and far more apt and accurate title, The Japanese and Their Dwelling, which immediately and rightly became a best-seller among general readers and professionals alike. Ueda knows history but does not flaunt it; he uses history critically in distilling architectural ideas and articulating them for general readers. To the Westerner, the essays describe the Japanese house as the Japanese would experience it. The translation is ingenious, capturing the sense as well as the tone of the text. Black-and-white photographs, lacking in the original, add greatly to the essays; apt and exquisite, they are captioned but regrettably undocumented. Original and intelligent, the book is a bargain; recommended for all libraries, general and specialized.


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