Architectural history of modern JapanThe architecture of Japan in the early decades of 20 th century

M2 舒 健碩/Jianshuo SHU

Arrangement of architectural works on panels, on timeline for cognition and discussion

Why architectural history of Japan?


As the most developed country of Asia in the field of architecture, the introduction of architectural thoughts and technologies from Occident countries also happened at an early stage of modern era. Although the main battle fields of architecture are considered to be the western countries, the development of architecture in Japan definitely has its own trajectory since the reform of Meiji Period. The study about the architectural history of modern Japan

helps to reveal the internal development of architecture on this specific culture sphere as well as provides models for understanding certain social facts.


Materials and method

At current stage, two publications, the journal of Kenchikuzashi(『建築雑誌』: Journal of Architecture) and the magazine of Kenchikusekai(『建築世界』: Architecture World) , which are handled as first-hand materials, are digitalized.


For another, there is no doubt that reading previous works by other scholars with critical attitude is also important in terms of making up the deficiency of knowledge and developing personal opinions throughout the synthesis and contradictions of the whole information.


Considering the physical statue of original literature and synthesis of study, a path that consists of both the traditional method of chronology, together with analytic study, within which a database is established in a relational and open structure allowing for further study, is developed.

Sample of Kenchikusekai/『建築世界』

Establishment of database

Currently, the software of Filemaker is implied as the RDBS. As it is shown in the diagram, the structure of database is mainly composed with three parts: the catalog, which serves as the central hub of the whole dataset; the tables for literature, which store the information extracted from original literatures in the forms of number, text or image; the tables for analysis, independent from the storage of original data, which allow for definition of parameters and personalization of analysis. Both the tables for literature and analysis can be added or subtracted respectively, which means that an extensible structure for current and future studies is ensured.


Additionally, by means of various plots of user interface, the input and maintenance of data can also be more convenient and flexible, although all of these are not released on other devices yet.

Structure of database


Chronological work and analysis of architectural features

In correspondence with the previous work by other scholars, chronologies are made for specifying certain events and the timeline on which they locate. With the help of software like Tableau, the chronologies can be updated dynamically, which offers a more effective insight for observing and understanding the connections within history.

Chronology in progress


On the other hand, analytic work, which mainly sets its foundation on the visualization of data and statistical functions as well, gives a perspective on the analysis with more specific purposes.


For instance, in the case of analysis about architectural style, multiple attempts are conducted in forms like observing the general images plotted on panels and meticulous work by focusing on several specific identical features such as the orders implemented in buildings.

Manners of column and pilaster utilized in buildings and the count for column and pilaster in different positions

M2 舒 健碩/Jianshuo SHU


‘Born in 1991, Sichuan Province, China; Graduated from Tongji University, currently registered in Taji Laboratory for the second year of master program’


With interest in architectural theory and history, I am always trying to construct my own understanding of architecture, and simultaneously, expecting new possibilities provided by the computer, regarding the digital technologies today, so that my study about the architectural history of modern Japan utilized database for digging deep into the history. In the future, I wish to insist on the road of academy and make contribution to the study of architecture.