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April 2022 issue

Feats of the Imagination: Discover New Beauty in Japanese Architecture and Museums

Japan has a rich cultural history of celebrating art, museums and architecture, and aesthetically pleasing civil engineering also has deep roots here. Public works architecture is often designed to be pleasing to the eye while emphasizing safety and societal convenience. One example is Tokyo’s Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel, a stunning, cavernous marvel of modern engineering that keeps the city safe from flooding, while the area above ground includes a soccer field and skateboard park. Moerenuma Park in Sapporo is another example: a previous marshland turned to public landfill is now the site of a resplendent park enjoyed by the local community, including beautiful design features by Isamu Noguchi. In the world of museums and art, Japanese contemporary art museums continue to define global trends, including Warehouse of Art Terrada (WHAT), Towada Art Center and Nakanoshima Museum of Art. All three locations encourage visitors to participate in art, not simply view it. Lastly, a culmination of pop culture, literature, art and architecture, the Kadokawa Culture Museum in Saitama offers a fantastic view into the power of imagination. Delve into the intriguing history behind well-known anime, manga and novels, explore the nearby teamLab exhibit and gain new perspectives on Japanese art in all its exciting forms.

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