Kisho Kurokawa (黒川 紀章 ,Kurokawa Kishō) (April 8th, 1934 – October 12th, 2007) was a leading Japanese architect and one of the founders of the Metabolist Movement. Born in Kanie, Aichi, Kurokawa studied architecture at Kyoto University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1957. He then attended University of Tokyo, where he studied under Kenzo Tange. Kurokawa received a master's degree in 1959. Kurokawa then went on to study for a doctorate of philosophy, but subsequently dropped out in 1964. Kurokawa co-founded the Metabolist Movement in 1960. The Metabolists became known as a radical Japanese avant-garde movement pursuing the merging and recycling of architecture styles within an Asian context. The movement was very successful, peaking when its members received praise for the Takara Cotillion Beautillion at the Osaka World Expo 1970. The group was dismantled shortly thereafter.
Kurokawa was the founder and president of Kisho Kurokawa Architect & Associates, established in 1962. The enterprise's head office is in Tokyo with branch offices in Osaka, Nagoya, Astana, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Los Angeles.
Although he had practiced the concept of sustainable and eco-minded architecture for four decades, Kisho Kurokawa became more adamant about environmental protection in his latter years. In 2007, he ran for governor of Tokyo and then for a seat in the House of Councillors in the Japanese House of Councillors election, 2007. Although not elected, Kisho Kurokawa successfully established the Green Party to help provide environmental protection. Also in 2007, Kurokawa created the structure of the Anaheim University Kisho Kurokawa Green Institute, which helps to develop environmentally-conscious business practices. Kurokawa was a stakeholder and founding Chair of the Executive Advisory Board of the Anaheim, California-based university since 1998 and his wife Ayako Wakao-Kurokawa serves as Honorary Chairman of the institute.
Kurokawa wrote extensively on philosophy and architecture and lectured widely. He wrote that there are two traditions inherent in any culture: the visible and the invisible. His work, he claimed, carried the invisible tradition of Japan. In 1972, he received a grant from the Graham Foundation to deliver a lecture at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
Looking at his architecture—particularly at metabolism—tradition may not appear to be present, but, underneath the hard skin of the surface, his work is indeed Japanese. However, it is difficult to claim that the modern technologies and material he called on was inherited from the Japanese tradition and that the traditional forms of Japanese architecture can be recognized in his contemporary concrete or steel towers. Yet, Kurokawa’s architecture evolved from the Japanese tradition, and there is a Japanese aesthetic in the context of his work. His architecture focused on keeping traditional Japanese concepts invisible, especially materiality, impermanence, receptivity and detail. Kurokawa specifically referred to these four factors in his discussions of new wave Japanese Architecture.
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