June 03, 2021

Roundtable #8 – Bringing awareness to traditional and sustainable practices in Japanese architecture

Roundtable: Sustainability with Ross Rowbury

The English-language events invite readers of The Japan Times to be guest speakers. Ross Rowbury (former representative of Edelman Japan), who has a deep knowledge of Japan and boasts a wide network both here and abroad, sits down in the role of host with Japanese and non-Japanese to discuss their lives in Japan. Held once a month, the format of the roundtable includes time for panel discussions with the participation of the audience.

For our special speaker, Rowbury will welcome Azby Brown, a renowned author on various topics from Japanese architecture to design and the environment.

Azby Brown
Azby is a native of New Orleans and has lived in Japan since 1985. A widely published author and authority on Japanese architecture, design and the environment, his groundbreaking writings on traditional Japanese carpentry, compact housing, and traditional sustainable practices of Japan are recognized as having brought these fields to the awareness of Western designers and the general public. His books include “The Genius of Japanese Carpentry” (1989/2014), “Small Spaces” (1993), “The Japanese Dream House” (2001), “The Very Small Home” (2005) and “Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan” (2010). In 2003 he founded the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo, focusing on cognitive and cultural issues surrounding the human hand and its use in the creative process and conducting collaborative research with neuroscientists and perceptual psychologists on the neurobiology of the hand and hand-based creativity and communication. His creative work has been widely exhibited at galleries and museums internationally.

Since the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011, Azby has been a core member of Safecast, a highly successful global volunteer-based citizen-science organization devoted to developing new technology platforms for crowdsourced environmental monitoring that promote open source and open data principles. He is Safecast’s lead researcher, closely involved with assisting affected communities and analyzing and reporting on the issues they face. Azby is a sought-after speaker on both Japanese culture and the scientific and social consequences of disaster response, and provides a credible, critical and independent voice.

Ross Rowbury
Ross Rowbury has observed Japan while living and working here for four decades. Commencing his career in finance in Tokyo in the early 1980s, he later moved into public relations and communications, holding senior positions at Gavin Anderson & Co. (now Kreab) and PRAP Japan. Most recently, he headed the Edelman business in Japan for 10 years until July 2020. Ross is studying to become a kataribe (traditional storyteller) of Japanese legends while doing freelance consulting for a number of firms on their Japan business strategy. He is also visiting professor of Asian marketing at Doshisha University in Kyoto.

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