The Architecture of Postwar Japanese Identity: Hiroshima and Tokyo


Dipartimento di Architettura dell’Università di Bologna

Growth and Structure of Cities Department, Bryn Mawr College, PA, USA

Conferenza/Lecture

Bologna, 26 giugno 2013

Dipartimento di Architettura dell’Università di Bologna

Growth and Structure of Cities Department, Bryn Mawr College, PA, USA

Conferenza/Lecture

Bologna, 26 giugno 2013

 

Carola Hein

L’architettura dell’identità giapponese nel dopoguerra: Hiroshima e Tokyo

The architecture of Postwar Japanese Identity: Hiroshima and Tokyo

 
When Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, effectively ending World War II, 215 Japanese cities had been bombed. Incendiary bombs dropped on Tokyo on the night of March 10, 1945, killed some 80,000 to 100,000 people. Furthermore, two single atomic bombs wiped out Hiroshima (August 6th) and Nagasaki, killing roughly 140.000 and 80.000 people respectively by the end of 1945. The tremendous scale of the urban destruction in Japan, raised the question of the scale, form, and function of reconstruction and the role of architecture and design for post-war identity.  Hiroshima and Tokyo in their different approaches to rebuilding collectively exemplify the establishment of a postwar Japanese national identity—as the first country ever to have been atom bombed, a victim rather than a perpetrator, and as an economic power, a peer to global leaders, respectively.  In Hiroshima Tange Kenzo did not just want to conceive a memorial complex, but aimed at reinventing the city as “Peace City” with the Peace Center, situated at the heart of the city, as a public space of assembly and memory, with structures serving both a desire for education about the horrible impact of an atomic bomb and the destruction of Hiroshima (aimed at foreigners) as well as a site for remembrance and prayers (for the locals). With the choice of Hiroshima, the Japanese placed the burden of war memory on a secondary city, freeing up the capital to take on the economic challenge of rebuilding. By contrast, the Japanese rebuilt the political capital, Tokyo, with few architectural or other reminders of war responsibility or destruction.
The government limited its interventions to necessary street straightening and widening, providing room for private land owners to rebuilt and help the capital to become a global player, on the urban layout of Japanese traditional form and urban identity.

Carola Hein è Full Professor presso il Growth and Stucture of Cities Department del Bryn Mawr College, PA, USA.

Studiosa di Storia dell’architettura e della città, è nata in Germania ed ha lavorato e vissuto in Belgio, Francia, Giappone e Stati Uniti. Le sue ricerche si sono indirizzate sui modi in cui la cultura, l’economia, la politica e i cambiamenti sociali si sono rispecchiati nelle architetture e nell’assetto urbano delle capitali mondiali.

LOCANDINA CH (2)

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