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Japanese Thatched Houses
Photo exhibition by Kiyoshi Takai
Main Bar and Masukomi Sushi
Jan 10, 2015 - Feb 6, 2015



When people began to live on the Japanese archipelago, the first houses they constructed all had thatched roofs. Despite being extremely labor intensive to make, thatched roofs have relatively limited durability and provide no protection against fire. However, thatch possesses numerous advantages, making it an ideal material: it is comparatively light, readily available and easy to apply to the roof, it keeps the house cool in summer, warm in winter and it muffles the sound of the rain, a definite benefit in a wet country like Japan. The roof is the part of the house most visible from the outside, so close attention was paid to its construction. As techniques developed, experience and wisdom were applied to the construction of even the most insignificant parts, leading to regional characteristics and individuality, demonstrating the authority of the owner and creating the atmosphere of the district. They are the product of the unique Japanese sense of formative and functional beauty that was itself developed beneath them. The number of thatched roofs is destined to dwindle in the future and unfortunately they will never return. As I took these photographs I felt sorrow at the loss of the traditional Japanese house that has been passed down to us from our distant ancestors.

Kiyoshi Takai graduated from Nihon University and employed as an architect photographer at Taisei Corporation from 1962 to 1988. After leaving Taisei, he continued his career as a freelance photographer, focusing on his lifetime project of photographing traditional Japanese buildings. Takai has won a number of awards and published several photo books.
In addition to his photography, he also teaches photography at Nihon University.

The Exhibitions Committee



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