About Billboard Architecture

Welcome to The Tokyo Files – Billboard Architecture 看板建築 (kanban kenchiku), a companion site to The Tokyo Files. This blog is dedicated to the Japanese architectural style of kanban kenchiku 看板建築, translated into English as ‘billboard architecture’ or ‘signboard architecture’. This style is characterized by a traditional ‘Japanese’-style structure with a flat, ‘westernized’ facade, such as in these billboard architecture models:

The phrase kanban kenchiku was coined by the architectural historian Fujimori Terunobu 藤森 照信; Fujimori also collaborated with the artist Genpei Akasegawa, forming the “Street Observation Society.”  You can read more about Fujimori and Akasegawa here: Billboard architecture in books.

For an overview of this architectural style, see Japanese signboard architecture, an introduction 看板建築. See also this in-process map of kanban kenchiku in Tokyo and surrounding areas: