Earlier this spring, UW professor Ken Tadashi Oshima
became the president of the Society of Architectural Historians, an international organization based in Chicago. He’s the first president from the University of Washington, and the first who specializes in non-Western architecture.
“I focus on Japan within the international context, as it’s linked to individuals and places in the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world,” Oshima said.
It’s an approach that includes ideas like “Asia-outside-of-Asia”: How does Japanese architecture transform as it crosses borders and continents?
One case study is the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition, a four-month world’s fair on the UW campus. Thousands flocked to the fairgrounds for rides, restaurants, speeches, and sporting events. Oshima has researched and written about the Japanese-inspired architecture at the exhibition, the most prominent of which was a large gate near what is now Fluke Hall. The gate’s architectural style has been described as Japanese-Alaskan.
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