Josiah Conder (architect)

Josiah Conder (architect)

Josiah Conder (September 28 1852 - June 21 1920) was named the "father of Japanese architecture"Fact|date=July 2008. A British architect born in London, he designed the Rokumeikan (known as the Deer Cry Pavilion, or Hall of the Baying Stag) and educated many Japanese architects who later won distinction, notably Tatsuno Kingo.

Early career

Conder graduated from the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, where he had studied with William Burges. He proved to be an outstanding pupil, and in 1876 he was awarded the Soane Prize.

Career in Japan

Invited by the Japanese government, keen to hire foreign specialists (oyatoi gakokujin), Conder taught at the Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo from 1877 and was charged with transforming the Marunouchi area into a London-style business district. After 1888 he operated a private practice, and remained in Japan for the rest of his life. He was a teacher of four famous Japanese architects: Tatsuno Kingo, Katayama Kingo, Sone Tatsuzo and Satachi Shichijiro, the first Japanese architects to build western-style buildings in Japan in the Meiji era.

He developed a keen interest in Japanese arts, and after a long period of petitioning, was finally accepted to study painting with the artist Kawanabe Kyosai. He was given the name nihongo|Kyoei|暁英 by his teacher (incorporating the character 'ei' from the Japanese name for Britain).

His studies led to a number of publications, among them 'The Flowers of Japan and The Art of Floral Arrangement' (1891), 'Landscape Gardening in Japan' (1893) and 'Paintings and Studies by Kawanabe Kyosai' (1911).


Conder's architectural designs incorporated a wide variety of styles, including both European and colonial elements. Although he designed over fifty buildings during his career in Japan, many are no longer extant. These include the Tokyo Imperial Museum (1881) in Ueno, Rokumeikan (1883), University of Tokyo's faculty of law and arts building (1884), the Nikolai Cathedral (Nokorai-do, 1891), and the Navy Ministry Building (1895).

Notable buildings surviving today are the residence of Iwasaki Yanosuke in Yushima (1896, now the Kyu-Iwasaki Tei) and the Mitsui Club in Mita (1913).


* Dallas Finn, 'Josiah Conder (1852-1920) and Meiji Architecture', Ch. 5, "Britain & Japan: Themes and Personalities", ed. Hugh Cortazzi and Gordon Daniels, London: Routledge, 1991. ISBN 0-415-05966-6
* Louis Frédéric (translated by Käthe Roth), "Japan Encyclopedia", 1996 (2002), ISBN 0-674-00770-0
* Shuichi Kato (translated and adapted by Junko Abe and Leza Lowitz), "Japan: Spirit & Form", 1987-88 (1994), ISBN 0-8048-1969-6

ee also

*Anglo-Japanese relations

External links

* [ Find-A-Grave profile for Josiah Conder]

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