Struggling Cities: from Japanese Urban Projects in the 1960s
A touring architectural and city exhibition by Naohiko Hino

8 April - 14 May 2017

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)

© Arata Isozaki, Cities in the Air, photo by Takashi Ohtaka (Left) / Kiyonori Kikutake, Tower Shape Community (Right)

Japan Creative Centre (JCC), Embassy of Japan in Singapore, together with the Japan Foundation and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), are pleased to present Struggling Cities: from Japanese Urban Projects in the 1960s, a touring architectural and city exhibition.

The exhibition takes a fresh look at proposals on the city that were put forward by Japanese architects in the 1960s when Japan saw a flourishing of ambitious ideas and activities in that arena, and how these ahead-of-their-time ideas can delineate the challenges and difficulties of urbanisation and contemporary cities we are facing today that has grown more pressing with the passage of time.

Exhibition Period

Exhibition Period:

8 April - 14 May 2017

Opening Hours:

Tuesdays – Sundays, 11:00am to 7:00pm
Closed on Mondays & Public Holidays


The Ngee Ann Kongsi Gallery 1 & 2, NAFA Campus 1
80 Bencoolen Street, Singapore 189655



About the Exhibition

Taking as its point of departure the various experimental ideas on the city that flourished in Japan in the 1960s and using a combination of diverse media — from architectural scale models to photographs and slides, along with animations and other audio-visuals — this exhibition examines various circumstances of Japanese and other cities up to the present day, and identifies in particular the distinctive aspects of those circumstances as they are manifested in present-day Tokyo.

Showcasing proposals such as Kenzo Tange's "A Plan for Tokyo-1960"; Metabolist schemes of Kiyonori Kikutake, Kisho Kurokawa, Masato Ohtaka, Fumihiko Maki and Noboru Kawazoe; as well as Arata Isozaki's "Cities in the Air", they were all ambitious ideas addressing various problems engendered by urbanisation. However, despite being ostensibly similar in addressing urban expansion and developed in a relatively short time span within fairly closely associated architects, these schemes are very different from one another in substance, which makes it difficult to cope with the process of urbanisation.

As such, these ahead-of-their-times proposals are rather peculiar and can be thought of as only one aspect of a broader quest for a new vision of the city, aimed at moving beyond the era of modern architecture characterised by the worldwide proliferation of buildings that look alike. Although their radicalism was rare during the 1960s of Japan, comparable plans from various parts of the world can be found at the same era, which means these proposals addresses common challenges various countries were facing that accompanies modernisation.

The exhibition is designed to raise key issues of urbanization that, while centring on Tokyo, the world’s most populous urban agglomeration, also apply to the specific realities of the country where the exhibition is held.

Photo credits (from left to right):
© Kiyonori Kikutake, Tower Shape Community, photo by Takashi Ohtaka
© Diversity of Tokyo, photo by Takashi Otaka
© Kenzo Tange, Photograph of the full model of A Plan for Tokyo-1960, photo by Osamu Murai
© Arata Isozaki, Cities in the Air (shizuoka version), 1960, photo by Osamu Murai

Japan Creative Centre

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