At the Faculty of Design, Kyushu University, we are engaged in discussing the fundamental theories of design with the aim to systematize its study. On this occasion, we invited Professor Yoko Fukao (Osaka University, Graduate School of Language and Culture) to speak to us at the 9th Fundamentals of Design Seminar. Her presentation was titled, “Re-Questioning Rational Order — Redesigning Closed Communities and Bounded Societies.”
In recent times, especially from the 20th century onwards, our everyday living and social spaces have been transforming to become ever more enclosed. With the protection of individual rights; the establishment of national borders; and the use of concrete in architecture, humans have been born, raised, and living in confined spaces. This trend can be witnessed in our social structures and their underlying theories; regional design plans; and house designs. This manner of enclosure is referred in the talk as the “barricading process”. The “barricading process” is also evident in academic thought, where lines demarcating the boundaries of intellectual specialisms have been deepening, while a more general approach to knowledge has been fading. In households and schools, enclosures have been taken place spatially and socially, giving rise to new forms of violence and leading to obstructive exclusiveness. She argues that the 21st century is a time to escape from the 20th century trend of closed off-ness, to “open barricaded spaces”. The world is fundamentally structured upon improvised spaces of openness and liberated societies where spontaneous encounters and communications can take place. Such freedom begets a more harmonious life cycle. As such, the breaking down of restrictive barriers should be the mission of mankind. By referring to the extensive field work Professor Fukao has conducted on a village in inland China, Loess Plateau, this proposal is argued for.
Yoko Fukao specialized in the study of the Chinese language at Osaka University of Foreign Studies and graduated in 1985. In 1987, she completed her doctoral studies in Oriental history at Osaka City University. In the same year, she became an assistant lecturer at Osaka University of Foreign Studies. Following her subsequent appointments as lecturer and assistant professor, in 2007, with the assimilation of the university with Osaka University, she was appointed to the post of associate professor of global management studies with the School of Economics. And in 2018 she returned to the Division of Language Studies at Osaka University of Foreign Studies. Since 2019 she has been a professor there. In the meantime, she has travelled between Japan and Loess Plateau, located in inland China, to conduct a continuous, 25-year long research on a single village. She has published numerous works, including “Tamashii no Datsushokuminchi-ka towa nanika” (Seitosha); “Kosa no Ekkyo Management: Odo, Shokurin, Enjo wo toi naosu” (Osaka University Print); “Nihon no Otoko wo Kui Tsukusu Tagame-jo no Shoutai”; and “Nihon no Shakai wo Ume Tsukusu Kaeru Otoko no Matsuro” (Kodansha, αShinsho). She has also jointly authored “Odokogen no Mura: Onkukan, Shakai” (Kokon). Furthermore, she has edited “Odokogen, Midori wo Tsumugi dasu Hitobito: ‘Midori Sei’ Shu Jo Hitsu wo meguru Ugoki to Katari” (Fukyousha); “Manshu no Seiritsu: Shinrin no Shojin to Kindai Kukan no Keisei” (Nagoya University Press); and “Hong Kong Barricade” (Akashi Shotenn).
Kyushu University Faculty of Design
July 12th (Friday), 2019, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Kyushu University Ohashi Campus, Design Commons 1F
4-9-1 Shiobaru, Minami-ku, Fukuoka
Toru Koga (Kyushu University Faculty of Design)