January 27, 2023
Vol20: FROM THE EDITOR
In this month’s special feature, we focus on the International House of Japan, popularly known as I-House. Established in 1952 after Japan’s signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty paved the way for its return to the international community, I-House celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2022. The private, nonprofit organization was established for the purpose of promoting international cultural exchange and intellectual cooperation.
The I-House facilities were jointly designed by three of Japan’s leading architects — Kunio Maekawa, Junzo Sakakura and Junzo Yoshimura — and first opened in June 1955. They are an acknowledged architectural masterpiece that achieves harmony between modernism and the site’s existing Japanese-style garden. The purchase of the land and construction costs were covered by a donation of ¥250 million ($676,000 at the time) from the Rockefeller Foundation and ¥100 million in donations from approximately 7,000 private corporations and 5,000 individuals. The sheer number of donors is telling. Next time you visit the facility, in Roppongi’s Toriizaka neighborhood, it is worth remembering the importance that previous generations placed on international exchange.