A Critical History of Japanese Housing from the Perspective of the Human-Nature Relationship
The history of elite housing from ancient times onwards was based on a concept of space in which man was an integral part of his natural surroundings. This conception of space derives from the symbiosis between ‘architecture’ and ‘garden’ and is inherent to the long and rich tradition of Japanese and Sino-Japanese thought fed by myths, legends and sacred beliefs, from primitive Shinto cults to the influence of Indian thought through Buddhism imported via China, not to mention the major influence of Taoist concepts of the universe from the Heian period on. These successive influences never put into question the fundamental relationship between man and nature but, on the contrary, gave it new substance, and left their mark on all forms of social expression including architecture, art, the sacred, and mythology. Japanese architecture has always reflected the fundamental relationship between man and nature, which is why the various archetypes of Japanese dwellings from ancient to pre-modern times rely on the intrinsic relationship between architecture and garden.