New JACCC Exhibit Explores Japan Urbanization

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The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) presents “Struggling Cities: From Japanese Urban Projects in the 1960s,” an international traveling exhibition canvasing the unique social and physical structure of post-war and post-occupation cities of Japan. Commissioned by the Japan Foundation, the exhibition will run at the George J. Doizaki Gallery from Saturday, June 11, through Sunday, July 31, and is a part of Little Tokyo Design Week.

Among the diverse fields of cultural and artistic endeavors pursued in Japan, Japanese architecture in particular has, in recent years, attracted growing international attention. Recognizing the opportunity that this situation presents, the Japan Foundation is sponsoring “Struggling Cities” to address the theme of Japanese architecture and the city.

Though never realized, the ambitious urban projects in Japan as presented by architects like Kiyonori Kikutake, Kisho Kurokawa, Masato Ohtaka, Fumihiki Maki, Noboru Kawazoe and Arata Isozaki in the early 1960s help articulate the problems and changes the cities were facing due to rapid urbanization — problems, in light of recent events, that are much too relevant to Japan today, but also to all modernized cities around the globe.

The United Nations estimates that, of the total world population, the proportion living in urban centers will exceed 50 percent in 2010 (World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision Population Database), but the planning of these modern cities does not always function well. Taking Tokyo, the first mega-city and one of the biggest cities in the world, as a starting point, the exhibition is sure to challenge students of architecture, urban planning, and even history to see the struggles of urban city lifestyles.

Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City is a five-day festival celebrating the power and energy of cutting-edge design and technology now emerging from Japan and its intersection with current trends materializing in Los Angeles. Design’s ability to move us towards a more sustainable and creative urban lifestyle is at the heart of this event, which will be open to the public from July 13 to 17.

Little Tokyo Design Week is a collaboration between Hitoshi Abe, chair, UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design, and principal, Atelier Hitoshi Abe; Jon Kaji, president, Kaji & Associates/Nikkei Center; and the LTDW Steering Committee.

The JACCC is located at 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo. For more information, visit www.jaccc.org or call (213) 628-2725, ext. 133.

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