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This item shows wear including ex-library markings, a small tear in the cover, and moderate wear to edges and cover.
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This work deals with every aspect of the traditional Japanese home, from its general plan and major structural features to such ceremonial and traditional appointments as the tatami mats (which actually determine the size of the house), lamps, hibachi (braziers), fusuma and shoji screens, candlesticks, pillows, and tokonoma (places where art objects or flowers are displayed). It covers details of both construction and architectural ornamentation, and it points out the many ways in which the traditional Japanese house achieved the almost ideal blend of art and nature, decoration, and stark simplicity that is its hallmark. It shows in detail such things as how natural irregularities (such as in logs) are used to advantage, how partitions change the shape of the interior, and how the garden with its bridges, lanterns, and natural forms (sometimes artfully wrought) complements the severity of the house itself. More than 300 drawings by the author illustrate the text.
Morse was one of the first to try to see and understand a dwelling in terms of the culture and tradition of the people who live in it. As a result, this work, which for three generations has remained the most informative and exhaustive discussion in English of the Japanese home, is equally honored for its strikingly modern conception of architecture and, more particularly, of the Japanese home as a place where people live.
Since this work was first published, many of the traditional features of the Japanese home have altered under the impact of Western ideas. The work, consequently, should be particularly valuable to contemporary architects, artists, structural engineers, and scholars who want a purer view of the traditional Japanese dwelling. Because of its wealth of suggestion, it will also prove valuable to designers and craftsmen. For laymen, it continues to offer insight into a type of architecture (and a way of life) that is having an increasing impact on Western ideas.

From the Back Cover

More than three hundred detailed illustrations by the author provide accurate information on types of houses, interiors of both ordinary and teahouse rooms, floor plans, roof detailing, methods of structure and construction, gardens, decorations, tools, furniture, and fittings.

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
77 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

J. Hoggan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A good starting read
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2020
A very in depth analysis of traditional Japanese homes c. 1886. This books covers construction, specialized terms, building equipment, and regional variances comprehensively while giving a look into Japan before interaction with the western world could have an influence on... See more
A very in depth analysis of traditional Japanese homes c. 1886. This books covers construction, specialized terms, building equipment, and regional variances comprehensively while giving a look into Japan before interaction with the western world could have an influence on building systems. As the book is over 100 years old some of the language is outdated but still quite easy to understand.
One person found this helpful
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Rich
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"Japanese Homes and their Surroundings"- a review by Rich Saylor, Architect
Reviewed in the United States on March 30, 2015
A nice companion book to others, such as "The Japanese Bath", by Bruce Smith. This Dover edition is a reprint of a book written in the 1880''s, and so giving a truly authentic representation of the styles of old Japan, uninfluenced by Western concepts. To compare... See more
A nice companion book to others, such as "The Japanese Bath", by Bruce Smith. This Dover edition is a reprint of a book written in the 1880''s, and so giving a truly authentic representation of the styles of old Japan, uninfluenced by Western concepts. To compare the descriptions and sketches of this book with modern books on the subject is very educational,at the least. There is also a very good glossary of Japanese terms/words in the back; such translations of Japanese words are not often found in most books on Japanese architecture, and are very helpful for those wishing to have a good understanding of the ideas represented in traditional Japanese residential architecture. Very good reading, and wonderful sketches!
6 people found this helpful
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Jeannie CR Chapman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent - ticked every box!
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2020
This book arrived in excellent condition, faster than promised and the book is even better than I’d imagined. Thank you! It will be a valued part of my library.

I definitely recommend purchasing from these folks.
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Nancy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Japanese Cultural Treasure, written by an American
Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2013
If you are interested in the subject, this is an invaluable resource. A bonus is that the introduction reveals that the beautiful and sustaining-of-culture-and-value Japanese Cultural Treasures designations actually arose because 3 American (USA) professors saw too much of... See more
If you are interested in the subject, this is an invaluable resource. A bonus is that the introduction reveals that the beautiful and sustaining-of-culture-and-value Japanese Cultural Treasures designations actually arose because 3 American (USA) professors saw too much of real value disappearing from Japan. They worked together with Japanese government officials with the result that Japan created their Cultural Treasures and went on to designate people, food, textiles, ceramics, buildings and land (and more) as Cultural Treasures, thus preserving one of the finest cultures in the world, while giving people who create and care about culture a reason to keep on doing so.

If only the 3 professors had also worked with Americans with the same success.
3 people found this helpful
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Sibylla
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mixed feelings...content vs quality.
Reviewed in the United States on December 25, 2014
Five stars for the content, 3 stars for the poor quality of the scanned pages in my copy, sonsplit the difference for a 4 star score. I''m a fast reader, and I actually have to go in with a fine tip pen and write in the words so I can read faster than a snail''s pace. Its... See more
Five stars for the content, 3 stars for the poor quality of the scanned pages in my copy, sonsplit the difference for a 4 star score. I''m a fast reader, and I actually have to go in with a fine tip pen and write in the words so I can read faster than a snail''s pace. Its really frustrating, and it has been mentioned, so I was expecting it to some extent. I''m hoping a mid-range review will encourage someone to make better scans/copies in the future. I''d be willing to pay a little more for a more readable book.

All that being said, there''s a lot of info in here...maybe a bit dry for some, but the architect/interior designer in me loved the first hand accounting and the sketches.
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Michael F. Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must-have
Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2005
"Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings" is a great book. If you''ve any interest in traditional Japanese architecture, get this book. Edward Morse was an American who went to Japan in 1877 to study brachiopods. He ended up recording a vanishing way of life instead. He tells... See more
"Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings" is a great book. If you''ve any interest in traditional Japanese architecture, get this book. Edward Morse was an American who went to Japan in 1877 to study brachiopods. He ended up recording a vanishing way of life instead. He tells you how Japanese homes were built and why they were built that way. Not much escapes his eye. In serviceable prose and clear drawings, he tells us about carpenters and their tools, houses, furnishings, privies, fences and gateways, water supplies and gardens. Most of it he compares favorably to American and European counterparts.

Best of all, it''s a Dover book and cheap.
7 people found this helpful
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Joanne Hardinger
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2018
If you want to understand Frank Lloyd Wright, you have to get this.
One person found this helpful
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H. K. Miller
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Thorough overview of traditional Japanese home architecture
Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2019
The book covers traditional Japanese home architecture, furnishings, gardens, and outbuildings. Very thorough.
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Top reviews from other countries

Ant
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An historic and interesting insight
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 14, 2006
A great book with incredible balance of the generics and specifics of traditional Japanese architecture and building methods with particular reference to the everyday home. The observations and illustrations made by Morse are very much based in his scientific background,...See more
A great book with incredible balance of the generics and specifics of traditional Japanese architecture and building methods with particular reference to the everyday home. The observations and illustrations made by Morse are very much based in his scientific background, but he communicates in plain language with the heart and soul of poet. His American English writings are turn of the century but it adds more to the charm. Indeed he was ideally placed to catalogue the traditional methods prior to the Western influence on building methods. It is fascinating to read the comparisons to what were generally considered by others to be quite primitive methods of construction in relation to European and US buildings and Morse''s understanding of their purpose in relation to the local culture and craft. I wanted to learn a bit more about Japanese construction when I ordered the book but wasn''t expecting such a wonderful and detailed account. I''d certainly recommend it.
A great book with incredible balance of the generics and specifics of traditional Japanese architecture and building methods with particular reference to the everyday home.

The observations and illustrations made by Morse are very much based in his scientific background, but he communicates in plain language with the heart and soul of poet. His American English writings are turn of the century but it adds more to the charm. Indeed he was ideally placed to catalogue the traditional methods prior to the Western influence on building methods.

It is fascinating to read the comparisons to what were generally considered by others to be quite primitive methods of construction in relation to European and US buildings and Morse''s understanding of their purpose in relation to the local culture and craft.

I wanted to learn a bit more about Japanese construction when I ordered the book but wasn''t expecting such a wonderful and detailed account. I''d certainly recommend it.
5 people found this helpful
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Furzehill
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beware, it is not now possible to download the ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2016
Beware, it is not now possible to download the scanned original from www.rarebookclub.com who have disappeared from the web. As this book has none of the original 307 illustrations it is of limited use.
Beware, it is not now possible to download the scanned original from www.rarebookclub.com who have disappeared from the web. As this book has none of the original 307 illustrations it is of limited use.
One person found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2017
Excellent little book - my copy was a cheap as chips, still had the library card in it.
Excellent little book - my copy was a cheap as chips, still had the library card in it.
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Mr. Filion
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good detail
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 27, 2020
Bit dry with black and white sketches but great level of detail. Not for skimming.
Bit dry with black and white sketches but great level of detail. Not for skimming.
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pattynatalia
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
la bibbia per chi vuole conoscere l''architettura giapponese tradizionale
Reviewed in Italy on November 1, 2013
Credo che questo libro vada letto da chiunque, per lavoro o per passione, sia interessato all''architettura tradizionale giapponese. Vi sono moltissimi disegni esplicativi fatti dall''autore e il fatto che tutto ciò che è scritto derivi non da ricerche bibliografiche ma...See more
Credo che questo libro vada letto da chiunque, per lavoro o per passione, sia interessato all''architettura tradizionale giapponese. Vi sono moltissimi disegni esplicativi fatti dall''autore e il fatto che tutto ciò che è scritto derivi non da ricerche bibliografiche ma dall''esperienza personale di chi ha vissuto durante la fine dell''800 in Giappone sia già di per se un valido motivo per leggerlo: tutto ciò che è stato detto dopo probabilmente prende spunto da qui. L''unico ostacolo potrebbe essere la lingua inglese per chi non la conosce bene.
Credo che questo libro vada letto da chiunque, per lavoro o per passione, sia interessato all''architettura tradizionale giapponese. Vi sono moltissimi disegni esplicativi fatti dall''autore e il fatto che tutto ciò che è scritto derivi non da ricerche bibliografiche ma dall''esperienza personale di chi ha vissuto durante la fine dell''800 in Giappone sia già di per se un valido motivo per leggerlo: tutto ciò che è stato detto dopo probabilmente prende spunto da qui.
L''unico ostacolo potrebbe essere la lingua inglese per chi non la conosce bene.
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