Yagura is the Japanese word for "tower", "turret", "keep", or "scaffold". The word is most seen in reference to structures in Japanese castle compounds but can be used in other situations as well; the bandstand tower erected for Bon Festival is called a yagura, as are similar structures used in other festivals. Yagura-daiko is a traditional part of professional sumo competitions. There were signs that the first written form of kanji was during ancient periods being a character representing a tower before being changed to — in which the former replaced the latter once again; the term derives from the use of fortress towers as high/tall or arrow storehouses, was thus written as 矢倉. The term was used for a collection of towers. Today, modern towers such as skyscrapers or communications towers are exclusively referred to or named using the English-derived word tawā and not yagura. Castle towers varied in shape and purpose. Many served as watchtowers and for similar military purposes. Arrows were stored there, with other equipment.
As castles served as the luxurious homes of Japan's feudal lords, it was not uncommon for a castle to have an astronomy tower or a tower that provided a good vantage point for enjoying the natural beauty of the scenery. Japan has feared invasion or maintained border forts. However, it is that guardtowers or watchtowers would have been kept, outside of larger castle compounds, at times and places throughout its history. Turnbull, Stephen. Japanese Castles 1540-1640. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. Motoo, Hinago. Japanese Castles. Tokyo: Kodansha. P. 200 pages. ISBN 0-87011-766-1
Imperial Crown Style
The Imperial Crown Style of Japanese architecture developed during the Japanese Empire in the early twentieth century. The style is identified by Japanese-style roofing on top of Neoclassical styled buildings. Outside of the Japanese mainland, Imperial Crown Style architecture included regional architectural elelements. Before the end of World War II, the style was referred to as Emperor's Crown Amalgamate Style, sometimes Emperor's Crown Style. Starting in Japan in the 1930s, this Western and Japanese eclectic architectural style was promoted by Itō Chūta, Sano Toshikata, Takeda Goichi. Itō, Takeda had been appointed as judges for architectural design competitions, held a preferences for Japonesque aesthetics to be incorporated into the design guidelines, chose designs where a Japanese styled roof was integrated into a Western style reinforced concrete building; the prototype for the style was developed by architect Shimoda Kikutaro for the Imperial Diet Building in 1920, reached its peak in the 1930s until the end of World War II.
The style ran contrary to modernism and placed an emphasis on including traditional Japanese architectural elements, in a distinct expression of Japanese Western Eclectic Architecture. During the 1920s and 1930s the last buildings with architectural designs drawing from artistic historicism were constructed; this was due to a decline in the strict adherence to the design rules that defined classic historicism in architecture, gave way to an eclectic architectural style which included aspects of Frank Lloyd Wright and Expressionist architecture. This was a compromise made to combine multiple styles into the classical or simplified classical architectural design in a single building. In Japan, buildings which incorporated Japanese styled components were popularised in the late 1920s Construction during this period included. In 1919 an architectural design competition was held for the design of the Imperial Diet Building, with all the winning entries being renaissance designs. Shimoda Kikutaro raised objections to these designs, by moving two petitions through the Imperial Diet.
Shimoda presented a design with a Japanese-styled roof set atop of the body of the building, naming this Emperor's Crown Amalgamate Style, distributed pamphlets about this cause, but was rejected by the architectural industry. From 1906 to 1922 both Frank Lloyd Wright and Shimoda Kikutaro, active together in Chicago, submitted separate design proposals for the rebuilding of the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. Shimoda had submitted a proposal for a Japanese style roof set on a low profile masonry building before Wright had become involved in the project. Wright did not sign a memorandum with the Imperial Household for the project until March 1916, not without protest from Kikutaro, who claimed that his design had been appropriated by Lloyd. Architectural design competitions were held for the Kanagawa Prefectural office in 1920, for the Nagoya Prefectural office in 1930, both winning entries had Japanese style roofs. Neither of these competitions had entry conditions which required Japonesque architectural designs, however as the Kanagawa Prefectural office was located in Yokohama there was a known association with Western foreigners, Nagoya Prefectural office was in close proximity to Nagoya Castle, so a Japanese styling was included in the designs.
Following this, the competition entry guidelines for the Japan Life Building, Dairei Memorial Kyōto Museum of Art, Military Hall, had provisions for Japonesque architectural designs. The proportion of winning designs from entries with Japanese style roofs increased; the Japan International Architecture Association opposed the entry guidelines and solicited architects to boycott the competition. On one side Kunio Maekawa and Chikatada Kurata, despite knowing that they would be defeated, submitted modernist-style plans, they had not ignored the competition guidelines, but as in Japanese traditional building construction involved crafting timbers in a particular way – crafting reinforced concrete as if it was timber for a particular design purpose – this was interpreted as being Japanese. Kunio Maekawa's entry was supported by the youngest judge Kishida Hideta, but his decision was overturned by Chūta Itō, the proposal was not successful. Despite this, Kunio Maekawa gained sympathy for his stance of promoting modernism, became a hero to his professional peers.
To the architects of the 1930s these Japanese styled roofs set on Japonesque buildings, appeared to be a revival of the Emperor's Crown Amalgamate Style and therefore used the term Emperor's Crown Style. To Chūta Itō, the modification of
A hōkyōintō is a Japanese pagoda, so called because it contained the Hōkyōin dharani sūtra. A Chinese variant of the Indian stūpa, it was conceived as a cenotaph of the King of Wuyue – Qian Liu. Made in stone and metal or wood, hōkyōintō started to be made in their present form during the Kamakura period. Like a gorintō, they are divided in five main sections called kaeribanaza, or "inverted flower seat", kiso, or base, tōshin, or body, kasa, or umbrella, sōrin, or pagoda finial; the tōshin is carved with a Sanskrit letter. The'sōrin has the same shape as the tip of a five-storied pagoda; the kasa can be called yane, or roof. It's decorated with four characteristic wings called sumikazari. Different structures exist, the hōkyōintō property of the Yatsushiro Municipal Museum in Kyushu for example is divided in just four parts, with no kaeribanaza; the sūtra contain all the pious deeds of a Tathagata Buddha, the faithful believe that praying in front of a hōkyōintō their sins will be canceled, during their lives they will be protected from disasters and after death they will go to heaven.
The hōkyōintō tradition in Japan is believed to have begun during the Asuka period. They started to be made in stone only during the Kamakura period, it is during this period that they started to be used as tombstones and cenotaphs. Iwanami Kōjien Japanese dictionary Sixth Edition, DVD Version Shinkō no Katachi - Hōkyōintō, Yatsushiro Municipal Museum, accessed on September 18, 2008 "Nihon Rekishi Chimei Taikei, online version". Hatakeyama Shigeyasu no Haka. Heibonsha. Retrieved 2008-09-18
Japanese architecture has traditionally been typified by wooden structures, elevated off the ground, with tiled or thatched roofs. Sliding doors were used in place of walls, allowing the internal configuration of a space to be customized for different occasions. People sat on cushions or otherwise on the floor, traditionally. Since the 19th century, Japan has incorporated much of Western and post-modern architecture into construction and design, is today a leader in cutting-edge architectural design and technology; the earliest Japanese architecture was seen in prehistoric times in simple pit-houses and stores adapted to the needs of a hunter-gatherer population. Influence from Han Dynasty China via Korea saw the introduction of more complex grain stores and ceremonial burial chambers; the introduction of Buddhism in Japan during the sixth century was a catalyst for large-scale temple building using complicated techniques in wood. Influence from the Chinese Tang and Sui Dynasties led to the foundation of the first permanent capital in Nara.
Its checkerboard street layout used the Chinese capital of Chang'an as a template for its design. A gradual increase in the size of buildings led to standard units of measurement as well as refinements in layout and garden design; the introduction of the tea ceremony emphasised simplicity and modest design as a counterpoint to the excesses of the aristocracy. During the Meiji Restoration of 1868 the history of Japanese architecture was radically changed by two important events; the first was the Kami and Buddhas Separation Act of 1868, which formally separated Buddhism from Shinto and Buddhist temples from Shinto shrines, breaking an association between the two which had lasted well over a thousand years. Second, it was that Japan underwent a period of intense Westernization in order to compete with other developed countries. Architects and styles from abroad were imported to Japan but the country taught its own architects and began to express its own style. Architects returning from study with western architects introduced the International Style of modernism into Japan.
However, it was not until after the Second World War that Japanese architects made an impression on the international scene, firstly with the work of architects like Kenzo Tange and with theoretical movements like Metabolism. Much in the traditional architecture of Japan is not native, but was imported from China and other Asian cultures over the centuries. Japanese traditional architecture and its history are as a consequence dominated by Chinese and Asian techniques and styles on one side, by Japanese original variations on those themes on the other. Due to the variety of climates in Japan and the millennium encompassed between the first cultural import and the last, the result is heterogeneous, but several universal features can nonetheless be found. First of all is the choice of materials, always wood in various forms for all structures. Unlike both Western and some Chinese architecture, the use of stone is avoided except for certain specific uses, for example temple podia and pagoda foundations.
The general structure is always the same: posts and lintels support a large and curved roof, while the walls are paper-thin movable and never load-bearing. Arches and barrel roofs are absent. Gable and eave curves are gentler than in columnar entasis limited; the roof is the most visually impressive component constituting half the size of the whole edifice. The curved eaves extend far beyond the walls, covering verandas, their weight must therefore be supported by complex bracket systems called tokyō, in the case of temples and shrines. Simpler solutions are adopted in domestic structures; the oversize eaves give the interior a characteristic dimness, which contributes to the building's atmosphere. The interior of the building consists of a single room at the center called moya, from which depart any other less important spaces. Inner space divisions are fluid, room size can be modified through the use of screens or movable paper walls; the large, single space offered by the main hall can therefore be divided according to the need.
For example, some walls can be removed and different rooms joined temporarily to make space for some more guests. The separation between inside and outside is itself in some measure not absolute as entire walls can be removed, opening a residence or temple to visitors. Verandas appear to be part of the building to an outsider, but part of the external world to those in the building. Structures are therefore made to a certain extent part of their environment. Care is taken to blend the edifice into the surrounding natural environment; the use of construction modules keeps proportions between different parts of the edifice constant, preserving its overall harmony.. In cases as that of Nikkō Tōshō-gū, where every available space is decorated, ornamentation tends to follow, therefore emphasize, rather than hide, basic structures. Being shared by both sacred and profane architecture, these features made it easy converting a lay building into a temple or vice versa; this happened for example at Hōryū-ji, where a noblewoman's mansion was transformed into a religious building.
The prehistoric period includes the Jōmon and Kofun periods stretching from 5000 BCE to the beginning of the eighth century CE. During the three phases of the Jōmon
Kura are traditional Japanese storehouses. They are durable buildings built from timber, stone or clay used to safely store valuable commodities. Kura in rural communities are of simpler construction and used for storing grain or rice; those in towns are more elaborate, with a structural timber frame covered in a fireproof, clay outer coating. Early religious kura were built in a "log cabin" style, whilst those used to store gunpowder were constructed from stone. Earthen kura, dozō have evolved a particular set of construction techniques in order to make them fireproof; the kura storehouse was used to store precious items. Other sorts of storehouses such as outbuildings and sheds were used to store more mundane items; the first kura appear during the Yayoi period and they evolved into takakura that were built on columns raised from the ground and reached via a ladder from underneath. They were prevalent on the Ryukyu Islands and Amami Ōshima. During the Nara period the government taxed the country in rice and kura were used to store it.
After the introduction of Buddhism to Japan kura were used to religious items such as sutra. In a domestic situation, traditional Japanese houses had limited storage space; the sliding fusuma used to divide up rooms were used for the same purpose to create storage space, otherwise there was limited storage under the kitchen and sometimes an attic space was formed in the roof. Although a few important possessions may have been displayed, available storage was taken up by things like futons that were folded away each morning. In addition, many families possessed a wide array of accoutrements required for Japan's cultural festivals and these needed to be stored somewhere safe when not in use; the traditional houses were built of timber and prone to destruction by fire, so a more durable solution was required to store precious items. Earthen kura became a status symbol, with the greater number of kura indicating the greater wealth of the owner; this led some merchants to build three storey kura. Due to Kitakata's historic prominence of being the nation's "city of kura" and storeplace of preservable goods, it has been said by locals that "one who doesn't own a kura by the time they are 40 is not yet a man".
Azekura have descended in style from the Yayoi period when triangular section logs were used for building. Historic examples have been preserved within the compounds of Shintō shrines; the most famous examples are the Shōsōin at Tōdai-ji in Nara, storehouses at the Tōshōdai-ji in Nara and the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima. These kura have all been dedicated to storing cultural treasures; the timbers used in these kura were thicker than other types of wooden storehouses so they were more durable, they were vulnerable to fire and relied upon separation from adjoining buildings to provide the best fire protection. As such they were unsuitable for urban situations. Roofs were either covered in cypress bark; when the Buddhists arrived in Japan they brought the knowledge of using plaster walls with them. However the azekura style continued to be used; the owner had to firstly have enough possessions to merit building one, the timber used was expensive and they had to own enough land to suitably situate them from other buildings.
This raised log structure gained a religious significance and the style of domestic kura moved elsewhere. Board-wall kura were traditionally built in farming communities. Like the azekura above they were vulnerable to fire and were built some distance from other farm buildings. Examples can still be found in the village of Shirakawa in Gifu, they are constructed from a grid of heavy timbers laid to form a foundation, with posts and braces forming bracing for the walls. The interior walls are lined with heavy boards fixed on the inner side. In the case of the kura in Shirakawa, the roofs are thatched in a similar manner to gasshō-zukuri. Traditionally grain was stored on the ground floor with household items stored on the upper floor. There are two types of stone kura; the first has a roof made up by piling up stone blocks. The former were built in the Edo period and used for storing firearms and ammunition, such as the one in Osaka Castle which has walls 1.9m thick. Remains of houses on the island of Dejima in Nagasaki that were built by Dutch traders in the Edo Period were built using the latter method, with wooden structure faced with stone.
Kura in the vicinity of the Ōya quarry near Utsunomiya, Tochigi had roofs made from Ōya Stone. This is an inexpensive tufa, soft and carved but is waterproof, it was used by Frank Lloyd Wright on the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. Nikkō stone obtained from the same quarry as Ōya stone has a finer grain and was used for ornamentation on the exterior of kura. Earthen dozō kura are a common sight in Japan and the basic form is seen with only minor variations; the basic wood-framed, plaster-walled, tiled-roof design maintains a stable temperature and humidity throughout the year. Personal belongings kept in this type of kura tended to be kept in beautifully crafted wooden chests called tansu that would be located on a raised floor or balcony within. Although they became more popular in the Edo period, references to them are found in Heian period where statutes were written to govern the distances between kura in towns in order to prevent the spread of fire. Most tradit
Kasuga-zukuri is a traditional Shinto shrine architectural style which takes its name from Kasuga Taisha's honden. It is characterized by the use of a building just 1x1 ken in size with the entrance on the gabled end covered by a veranda. In Kasuga Taisha's case, the honden is just 1.9 m x 2.6 m. Supporting structures are painted vermilion, while the plank walls are white, it has a tsumairi structure. The roof is gabled, decorated with purely ornamental poles called chigi or katsuogi, covered with cypress bark. After the nagare-zukuri style, this is the most common Shinto shrine style. While the first is common all over Japan, shrines with a kasuga-zukuri honden are found in the Kansai region around Nara. If a diagonal rafter is added to support the portico, the style is called sumigi-iri kasugazukuri. While superficially different, the kasuga-zukuri shares an ancestry with the most popular style in Japan, the nagare-zukuri; the two for example share pillars set over a double-cross-shaped foundation and a roof which extends over the main entrance, covering a veranda.
The foundation's configuration is typical not of permanent, but of temporary shrines, built to be periodically moved. This shows that, for example, both the nagare-zukuri Kamo Shrine and Kasuga Taisha used to be dedicated to a mountain cult, that they had to be moved to follow the movements of the kami; the styles both have a veranda in front of the main entrance, a detail which makes it they both evolved from a simple gabled roof
The shōrō, shurō or kanetsuki-dō is the bell tower of a Buddhist temple in Japan, housing the temple's bonshō. It can be found at some Shinto shrines which used to be shrines, as for example Nikkō Tōshō-gū. Two main types exist, the older hakamagoshi, which has walls, the more recent fukihanachi or fukinuki, which does not. During the Nara period after the arrival of Buddhism in Japan bell towers were 3 x 2 bay, 2 storied buildings. A typical temple garan had two, one to the left and one to the right of the kyōzō, the sūtra repository. An extant example of this style is Hōryū-ji's Sai-in Shōrō in Nara. During the following Heian period was developed a new style called hakamagoshi which consisted of a 2 storied, hourglass-shaped building with the bell hanging from the second story; the earliest extant example is Hōryū-ji's Tō-in Shōrō. During the 13th century the fukihanachi type was created at Tōdai-ji by making all structural parts visible; the bell tower in this case consists of a 1-ken wide, 1-ken high structure with no walls and having the bell at its center.
Sometimes the four pillars have an inward inclination called uchikorobi. After the Nara period, in which temple layout was rigidly prescribed after the Chinese fashion, the position of the bell tower stopped being prescribed and began to change temple by temple. Roofs are either gabled or hip-and-gable