Nearly two years have passed since "3.11", Japan's worst disaster since the Pacific War. Now, twenty months later, we can start to see the kind of future that Japan has entered, and the values and visions that are animating its architects, designers, and artists in this period of reconstruction and renewal.
At the heart of the reconstruction challenge that Japan faces is the question of the relation between the centre and the periphery, or to put it in starker terms, between the strong and the weak. This relation is expressed in many ways – between global forces or state authority and local people; between the metropolis and the countryside; between the victims and the spared. The earnestness with which metropolitan architects have engaged local communities only underscores this asymmetry. Beyond the immediate response to disaster, what many in Japan are seeking is the rebalancing of a long legacy of uneven development.