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What kind of architecture style were most japanese cities built in before ww2? Do you know? They seem to have incredibly few historic buildings, is this all because of american air raids?
Japan like other countries had their own vernacular style which you can see from the photos. Himeji Castle (Himeji-jo), Hyogo is a classic example of their important historic architecture. Of course many structures were destroyed in WW2 and in addition the devastating earthquake of 1923 destroyed much of Tokyo which was a mix of traditional Japanese and Western style architecture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^^

Edit: Ah, you beat me to it ;)

Well, of course there would have been the local Japanese architecture, having evolved into its own thing over many centuries, and originally stemming from the style of the Chinese Tang dynasty if I remember correctly. After Japan opened up to the west however, there were some abrupt changes. An early example of this is the Giyōfū, or "pseudo western) style, which is basically what happens when traditional Japanese carpenters try to imitate western architecture.


wakyakyamn, on Flickr


Hideki Yoshida, on Flickr

Following this initial phase there would have been lots of purely western architecture, often designed by British, Americans etc.


baum_robert, on Flickr


jasohill, on Flickr


charlie, on Flickr

In the early 20th century and up to the war, architects began to look back towards the traditional architecture of Japan in the so called "Imperial Crown Style"


kinpi3, on Flickr


Toshifuyu Shiroyama, on Flickr


007 Tanuki, on Flickr

^^ Actually, you could make a thread on the topic of buildings that survived the war.
Anyway that's a very short and probably very clumsy answer to your question. If you were thinking about less monumental architecture then here are some more street scenes from the 1920s and 30s:



















 

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These "nostalgic streetlife" pictures are very interesting! But actually I expected to see more about architecture in this thread, as the subforum suggests. Otherwise this might be better suited for "General Photography" or "Cityscapes Photos". :)
 
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