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Japan is a disposal ground -- a toilet -- and if a foreign design turns out to be poor, the foreign architect can just go back to their own country and forget about it.

11 Comments

Jun Mitsui, a Japanese architect with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. He says Japan provides an opportunity for foreign architects to try out different styles they couldn't do at home thanks to the lack of building regulations restricting the look of the exterior to make sure the whole area stays visually consistent.

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Why must every mistake/conflict between cultures be seen as disrespect to Japan? Unless there's a big chunk of context missing from this quote (which there could well be,) this strikes me as extraordinarily childish.

My Dad used to do business with a Japanese firm, and while the culture clash of the negotiating process irritated him (as it did many others in his field,) he didn't see it as a collective disrespect to America. It was just part of the job.

News Flash: sometimes things don't work out, and it has nothing to do with disrespecting your country or culture. Welcome to 2008.

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Local government has the authority to regulate both zoning and building codes. The governments of Nara, Kanazawa, and many others have detailed restrictions to regulate the look of the buildings and the whole area .

I know that Mr. Mitsui has his offices in Tokyo and Osaka, and I have to agree both cities are toilets. However the lack of building restrictions is the responsibilities of the local governments. I wander why Mr. Mitsui does not want to blame the local governments?

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Well, I hope he doesn't think things are better in the US. New York City is heavily "regualted" by building codes and and "context." Architecturally almost everything going up in New York city is developer driven with the goal of turning a profit as fast as possible, resulting in cookie cutter condos and a generic city that could be any city. There is no culture in nyc or no attempt to propogate it. I cant say the rest of the US is any better. It is quite horrible as well.

A building like the Prada building by in Aoyama could never, and would never be built in the US, or almost any other place for that matter. same goes for the Yokohama terminal by F.O.A. (which ironically is named Foreign Office Architects.) This clearly makes japan one of the most interesting contries for contemporary architecture in the world.

I dont even know what this quote is supposed to mean. Its either inflamitory, or silly. I would think an architect would have something more insightful to say. But, I have never been a fan of the work of that office. I feel it is a slightly higher level of cookie cutter architecture.

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Urban landscape design in Tokyo is an eyesore and some of the building designs defy imagination, such as that Asahi Breweries building and the Fuji TV headquarters.

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The problem in Japanese cities is not what foreign architects very occasionally get up to but the consequences of Japanese architects and consortia building condominiums and office developments at a scale designed to make maximum profits and take minimum account of the human scale and their impact on the urban environment. In other words Japanese cities suffer because Japanese big business wants to make a fast buck.

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tokyo: ugliest city in the world, and it's 99% japanese inspired

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The more I think about this quote, the dumber it gets.

Foreigners can't do anything involving property here without substantial Japanese support and assistance. Why target them?

When will some people learn that you don't fix problems by wishing other people were different? Get off your cranky butt and do something useful.

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I think that the person just magnifies what Japanese people already feel about foreigners.

Any foreigner who has been in Japan for any length of time will ultimately notice the types of discrimination that is going on around them. If they don't, they are either oblivious or are lying to themselves.

It's quite easy to blame someone else for your own problems rather than take a really good look at yourself. This seems to be just another example of someone trying to blame others for something, in this case foreigners.

I really can't believe that given the way Japanese people feel about foreigners in their country that they would allow someone to come in and build a building without any Japanese input. How is THAT ever going to happen?

I think that most cities around the world tend to become 'toilets' if they become big enough. It's really hard to get around that fact without a lot of overall planning on the city. For that you have city engineers. Are you telling me that all Japanese cities are designed by foreigners?

Or is this person just merely saying that one bad building in a city will make it all the difference? It would be really interesting to see the data on all of this. Let's see who built WHAT, and then make a decision. Not only that, but it would be nice to find out who had control over the building construction. I mean, who had the final say? Of course that will never happen. We will really never know which buildings were built by whom and who had influence over the structure.

Besides that, it's all subjective isn't in? What one person may consider a work of art, another might think it's garbage. Personally, I find MOST of the apartment buildings in Japan to be very similar in design. Kind of boxy, and ugly. So, those are all designed by foreigners? I had no idea!! Foreigners must have WAY more say that I thought.

Whew...going on a bit of a rant there for a moment...apologies!

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You can add Nagoya to the list of sh1tholes... The view is rendered nauseating by the awefull and boring condo, golf training nets, and also random gaz tank shaped like giant balls...

Nothing foreign here, just 100% japanese business practice... Like for criminality, let them blame everything on earth except them... jus make the problem bigger, at a certain point they wont be able to continue to lye to themselves. Might be too late then...

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Japan needs zone laws.

Its sad when there pachinko, a cafe, a school, a business and a hostess bar all on the same block.

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Japan has zoning laws. There is an actual web-site that shows maps and the zones for each region. Same for crime statistics.

I know because I checked them before buying my apartment.

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