When Nature Builds the City
In his book ‘Japan: Nation Building Nature’, Joachim Nijs examines the links that connect Japanese society to nature.
© NAI 010 éditions
The streets, cities, and residences often reflect the relationship that a society and its residents have with nature. In the case of Japan, this relationship can sometimes be hindered by the natural elements that are unleashed on the country, which is subjected to typhoons and earthquakes in particular.
While studying architecture, a path that took him to Tokyo, Joachim Nijs—who is now based in the Japanese capital for work—began to examine the link that connects nature to Japanese society and explore what meaning the term ‘nature’ holds for the latter. As Augustin Berque underlined in his book Japan: Nature, Artifice and Japanese Culture, nature in Japan is often romanticised by foreigners in an interpretation tinged with Orientalism and far from the meaning it holds to the Japanese people. In Japanese cities, nature is not in fact so lush, and that is in cases where it has not simply been gradually sacrificed to clear spaces to construct new buildings to serve as homes, offices, or shops.
Through essays, photographs, historical case studies, and quotations from architects, scientists, philosophers, and even politicians, Joachim Nijs’ book Japan: Nation Building Nature explores how nature constructs the country’s modern architecture, and also how Japanese culture can shed new light on our understanding of nature and ecology.
Japan: Nation Building Nature (2020), a book by Joachim Nijs, is published by Nai 010.
The Taboo-Breaking Erotica of Toshio Saeki
The master of the 1970s Japanese avant-garde reimagined his most iconic artworks for a limited box set with silkscreen artist Fumie Taniyama.
The Surreal World of Icelandic Twins
The series ‘Eagle and Raven’ by photographer Ariko Inaoka allows its audience to spend seven summers in the daily lives of two sisters.
‘Forbidden Japan’, Through the Eyes of Irina Ionesco
In this book, the photographer gets up close to the naked, tattooed forms of the 'yakuza' and the eroticised body of an underground artist.
Pierre Soulages, a Passion for Japan
Since his first visit to Japan in 1958, the French painter has forged close links with the country and received its most prestigious awards.
Miho Kawakami's Home Surrounded by Greenery
In 2020, this food stylist and her family moved to a house in the heart of the forest in Karuizawa, north-west of Tokyo.