The JIA Tohoku Architects Conference 2022 in Yamagata was held in Yamagata City on September 24th and 25th, 2022.

JIA (Japan Institute of Architects) is a professional organization for architects, and I am also a member. You can find more information on the JIA website.

大会のポスター(写真は私がある団体を酒田の山居倉庫にご案内した時に撮ったスナップを使ってもらっています)/ The conference poster (featuring a snapshot I took when I introduced a group to the Sake Brewery Warehouses in Sakata is being used.)



On the 24th, a keynote lecture and panel discussion with the theme “Connecting to the Future – People, Towns, and Architecture” took place at the second-floor hall of Yugakukan (Yamagata Prefectural Library). Following this, there was a wrap-up event as an epilogue to mark the 10th anniversary of the East Japan Earthquake.


Following the opening declaration, we received congratulatory messages from Mayor Takahiro Sato of Yamagata City and a greeting from JIA Chairman Naomi Sato, after which the event transitioned to the symposium.






Following that, a keynote lecture titled “Connecting People and Regions to the Future: Activities to Preserve Architecture as Cultural Heritage” was delivered by Mr. Akira Matsukuma.

Chochiku-kyo is located in Oyamazaki, Kyoto, and is a representative work by architect and one of the early professors of Kyoto University, Koji Fujii. In 2017, it was designated as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government.

Mr. Matsukuma has been involved with Chochiku-kyo for over 20 years since the time when it didn’t receive much attention. He currently serves as the Director of the Chochiku-kyo Club, which manages Chochiku-kyo.

Surprisingly, the trigger for Mr. Matsukuma’s involvement with Chochiku-kyo was the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake (Kobe Earthquake), when classical-style modern buildings that formed the cityscape of Kobe’s Sannomiya district collapsed and were disposed of in a matter of days without any consideration for preservation or restoration, leading to a profound shock. He mentioned that without this experience, he might not be involved with Chochiku-kyo today.

Mr. Matsukuma, who is also affiliated with a major construction company, experienced the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe at his residence and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake in Tokyo at his workplace. As one of the few in the architectural field to have experienced both of the two largest earthquakes in the post-war period, he offered insights appropriate for this conference, which was positioned as the epilogue event of the “Ten Years Since the Great East Japan Earthquake” three-part series.


Following this, there were case presentations by Mr. Keiji Kitahara and Mr. Tokihiko Takatani. Subsequently, a panel discussion involving six individuals, including Mr. Takashi Inoue, Mr. Akira Miyamoto, and Mr. Masakazu Komatsu, was conducted.


The speakers at the lectures, case presentations, and panel discussions provided insightful and specific content from their respective fields of expertise. Despite concerns about the number of speakers potentially causing a lack of cohesion, each speaker’s individuality added depth, and they stimulated each other. As a whole, the symposium successfully established connections and provided significant learning experiences for the future. Participants also gave positive feedback. This event allowed us to reconfirm the potential of Yamagata, a castle town city where various buildings from different eras overlap, which has been spared from significant natural disasters and wartime destruction.

翌25日は、午前中、連携企画である「山形ビエンナーレ2022」の鑑賞を含めた山形中心市街地の街歩きイベントが行われ、Q1から文翔館までの展示スポットなどを巡りました。/ On the following day, the 25th, a city walking event in the central area of Yamagata, including the appreciation of the “Yamagata Biennale 2022,” took place in the morning. Participants explored exhibition spots from Q1 to Bunshou-kan and other locations.
山形ビエンナーレのイベントでにぎわう文翔館(旧山形県庁舎:重要文化財)の前庭 / The front garden of Bunshou-kan (formerly the Yamagata Prefectural Office and now an Important Cultural Property) bustled with activity during the events of the Yamagata Biennale.



After the town walk, we made our way to the Mamigasaki River, passing by the former Yamagata Normal School (an Important Cultural Property) and other places.



On a pleasant autumn day, the JIA Tohoku Branch held its traditional “Imonikai” (taro stew gathering), which had been canceled for three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members had the opportunity to strengthen their friendships during the event.




In this way, “JIA Tohoku Architectural Conference 2022 Yamagata” successfully came to an end. I would like to express my gratitude to the following people and organizations who contributed to the event: Sato Naomi, JIA President, who came all the way from Tokyo; everyone from JIA Tohoku Branch; members of the collaborating organizations; various supporting groups; the host city and prefecture, Yamagata; and the esteemed lecturers who shared their valuable insights.

Finally, a big thank you to all the members of JIA Yamagata Regional Group who worked tirelessly on the preparations.


The words of Mr. Akira Matsukuma, “Yamagata can become a latecomer to the front runner,” have left a lasting impression on me. I interpret this to mean that even if Yamagata may have been considered at the bottom in terms of development, it has preserved valuable architectural assets and cityscapes, and without realizing it, has taken the lead. I hope to be inspired by these words and contribute in my own small way to the urban development of Yamagata.