Quote Japan

Interesting, odd, outrageous or informative quotes about Japan

Building- Quotes about Japanese housing, architecture and town planning

“The city was proud of its fires, which were called Edo no Hana – and occured so frequently and burned so freely that no house in the low city could expect to last more than 2 decades”

This could perhaps explain how a culture that now means few houses survive more than two decades for other reasons developed. Edward Seidensticker in Low City High City

“In the years after the Second World War, one was frequently surprised to hear from the presumably fortunate resident of an unbombed pocket that he would have been happier if it too had been bombed”

Another example of the Japanese love of the new. Edward Seidensticker in Low City High City

“Just two-thirds of Japanese dwellings are connected to a modern sewage system” Insight Guides Japan (2002)

“Built in the eighth century. Burnt down and completely rebuilt in 893, 1217, 1526, 1718 and 1933. The present structure of this lovely 8th century temple was erected in 1965″- only slightly exaggerated history of a Japanese building, as written by George Mikes, The Land of the Rising Yen

“Building codes in some Western countries do not recognise this kind of [traditional Japanese house] top-heavy structure. Getting a building permit for a traditional Japanese house in the United States in not easy. Many of the post-and-beam homes destroyed in Kobe were the result of heavy roofs collapsing” Another nail in the coffin of the “we don’t build in brick because wood is better in an earthquake” argument, from Insight Guides Japan

“For the pedestrian foreigner, much of Tokyo’s frenetic carnival flavour is due to familiar things being used in unfamiliar ways. There is a kind of freedom in finding that Doric columns don’t mean banks, nor red roof tiles Spain. The feeling of being at liberty in Tokyo is occasioned by this ‘illiteracy’. There is no telling what anything means.” Donald Ritchie

“… a plastic advertising gorilla wearing the stars and stripes… lots of big roof-top Venuses de Milo and Statues of Liberty. Their statements are unintelligible, but they are also disarming, diverting and even, if you squint, witty. Also, they are resolutely modern.” Donald Ritchie

“If the European street can be seen as something like a stage, the Japanese street is like a market. This is very Asian of it.” Donald Ritchie

“…the warren is preferred. It was seen (or felt) to be a proper human environment. The Japanese, like the English, prefer the cosy, and consequently the streets of new Tokyo are as crooked and twisting as those of old London” Donald Ritchie

“It is interesting to see that though the new big building may be four-square and right-angled… parts of the original warren are duplicated… in the basement” Donald Ritchie

“…private houses in Japan stand an average of 26 years before their owners knock them down and build anew” Donald Ritchie

“New buildings are constructed in fashions so flamboyantly modern that one cannot but expect them to be superseded” Donald Ritchie

“Every other shop in these streets glitters with plate glass, aluminium frames and often automatic sliding doors or kind which less affluent or gadget-minded societies reserve for airports and supermarkets” Ronald P. Dore, in Shinohata- A Portrait of a Japanese Village (1978)

“‘Straw mats’ hardly sounds like a luxury item, but the Japanese tatami… is a sophisticated product which not everyone (in the 50’s) could afford” A good example how modern ‘Japanese traditions’ are always just the posh ones, Ronald P. Dore

“Some (families), in addition to the daily living room and a large traditional-style Japanese drawing room…had added a Western-style best parlour with a carpet on parquet floor, plastic imitation wood panelling, a radiogram, and suite of stiff, heavy sofas and arm-chairs and blonde dolls in glass cases” Ronald P. Dore

“As late as 1998,the Government Housing Loan Corporation…refused to lend to consumers buying homes over 20 years old…critics say [this policy] was designed to encourage new home building in order to help the politically powerful construction industry”

Saying Yes to Japan pg 74

“one private study calculated Japan’s ratio of used-to-new home sales at one to five, compared to six to one in the U.S. and seven to one in the U.K. Government statistics show Japan’s used-to-new home sales ratio to be one-thirtieth the U.S. number.” Saying Yes to Japan pg 75

 “Well into the 1990s Japan’s Tax Authority taxed used home transactions at more than 16 times the rate of new home sales: five percent versus only 0.3 percent” Saying Yes to Japan pg 75
“land winds up accounting for three-fourths of the total price of the typical house in Japan, while it accounts for only one-fourth the price of the average house in the United States” Saying Yes to Japan pg 73
“Nearly 100 percent of transactions through large real estate companies are handled on a dual agency basis” -(“dual agency is unethical or illegal in most nations”) Saying Yes to Japan pg 70

“Roads, bridges and rivers are primary. Water supply, housing, and sewer systems are secondary.” Tokyo Governor Yoshikawa Kensei in 1884. Not much has changed! Saying Yes to Japan pg 72

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