Japanese housing

まちづくりに統一感や美観といったコンセプトが持ち込まれたのは、1990年代の後半以降であるが、それでも全体としてみれば欧米の古い都市の住宅事情とは異なり、やはりちぐはぐ感は否めない。 都市の住宅事情を写真を使って表現してみたところ、いわゆる山手といわれる中-上流階級の宅地と、下町といわれる中産階級以下のエリア、そして1970年代に作られた大規模マンションや団地、1990年代以降に作られた新しい世代のマンションなど、街は住宅事情をめぐって様々な表情を見せてくれる。
Japanese housings have been referred to as ‘rabbit hutch’; For a long time, most people have lived in a little space such as densely built tenement houses. We have no way to know whether the situation has been improved or not since Japan has become one of the world’s economic leaders. To look at the Japanese housing situation more objectively, I have decided to photograph the residences in the Kansai region including Kobe City.
In the first place, in Japan where approximately 80% of the whole national land is covered with mountains, people had to construct houses in the limited flat or coastal areas. Hence the local governments including Kobe City strived for developing the residential land spaces through exploiting the mountain areas and constructing the landfill sites.
The housing situation that eventually looks like being random and inconsistent was resulted from several historical facts; a lot of cities and houses (mostly built of wood) were burnt down in the World War II, the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995 dealt a huge blow to residential buildings in the area, and moreover, the efforts for residential land development or the housing construction have been implemented by both the public and private sectors in Japan. A sense of unity or beauty was introduced into urban development in the late 1990s, however, the overall town view still lacks the unity or consistency compared to the old European cities.
This photography project revealed that a town consists of various types of housings such as the upper-middle-class houses in uptown areas, the middle or lower-class residences in downtown areas, and large-sized complexes and modern mansion which were largely constructed in 1970s and in 1990s respectively.
The Japanese housing situation brought by such random and inconsistent town development is a very familiar thing for the Japanese people.