While reading a book on Bauhaus from the Taschen Basic Architecture series (highly recommended!), I come across a Japanese name – Iwao Yamawaki. Born in 1898, he studied in Dessau in the early 1930s. It makes me think of the journeys he must have made, of possible culture shock (What could have shocked him exactly?), of him trying to learn German (How did he communicate? What foreign languages did he know?). I’d love to read his memoirs, but there doesn’t seem to be anything left – just a handful of unappealing “artistic” photos, somehow primitive and boring, and a book about “Japanese house now” from the 1950s. Someone of course has produced a monograph, claiming that Yamawaki went on to become one of the most important architects of post-war Japan, but I suppose it’s just a pitch, because if he had been one, surely there would be more about him on the Internet.

Need further research anyway. Need to install fonts. Because there were others, apparently: Kikuji Ishimoto, Bunzo Yamaguchi, Chikatada Kurata, Takehiko Mizutani… Exotic (?) guests from an already fascist Japan in the just-about-to-be-fascist Germany, studying at an anti-fascist school that was closed in 1933.

And finally, a sentence in (nomen omen) German: “Der Architekt Iwao Yamawaki, später einer der Protagonisten des Neuen Bauens in Japan, und seine Frau, die Weberin Michiko Yamawaki”.

Seine Frau…

Even with the Internet our lives make up dozens of novels that disappear without a trace as we are staring at our screens…


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