Japarchi is a French-Japanese network that founded in 2006 by a group of French architects and scholars who are teaching and researching at French National Graduate Schools of Architecture. This project was developed as part of the Ministry of Culture’s policies to promote research in the field of architecture, urban landscape and territory, history and design, with quite a large scope. It also aims to encourage cross disciplinary and international research.
Today this network has nearly 100 French and Japanese speaking members, this is the rst particularity of this network: the Japanese colleagues are all speaking French, and are mostly doing research about French topics in architecture or urban and landscape theory, history and design. Moreover, French speaking members are teaching or doing research and have engaged in studies of Japan’s spatial culture or comparative studies between France and Japan’s spatial culture. About 2/3 of the members are French and 1/3 are Japanese.
All the members have a background in varied disciplines which is challenging for when we need to work together. At the same time this has a very high potential to develop new research fronts through the exchange of the research viewpoints and topics from different fields.
The original task of the network was not only to do the research, but also to link the research production to the educational and professional activi-ties in the eld between France and Japan. Another task is to capitalize the French-Japanese research in these elds and disseminate it among a larger research community. Another task is also to make the produced knowledge and information available for students engaged at the Master level and then orient them towards the Doctoral course level in this eld. Of course the network has the objective to foster scienti c and academic activities like organizing seminars, symposiums, publishing books and articles as usual.
It is perhaps possible to define this group as a knowledge and information platform which goal is to facilitate and promote cross-cultural studies between France and Japan in our fields. It is not a research laboratory specialized in one speci c discipline but a platform where the specialists on the study of Japan’s Spatial Culture coming from different institutions and disciplines can meet, exchange and collaborate.
It is organized towards the aim of guaranteeing a high level of academic quality, with a double head direction, one in France and one in Japan. There is a scienti c committee composed of French and Japanese members of the network and this committee gives orientations and evaluates members proposals according to ongoing collective research projects. When publishing collective books there is a reading committee which composition is adapted according to the research project.
Considering space as a cultural tool to understand a society and its environment—past, present and future—, we consider that identifying and sharing fundamental knowledge is becoming more and more crucial in the context of a rapidly changing world. Research has indeed an important role to play in this context, such as revealing the some-
times hidden, lost or forgotten spatial structures of a specific culture, clarifying its meaning and complexity, looking at its formation or regeneration through various influences, borrowings, adaptations, etc. In other words, it helps to better understand changes in progress and cultural differences, by bringing closer different cultures in order to temper the conventional on-going discourse on cultural homogenization due to our globalized world. Spatial notions and their built-up devices constitute a visible and material expression of such dynamics. The dispersed range of knowledge it requires formed the first motivation to establish the Japarchi research network.
This page is an extract from the proceeds of the International Symposium “Architectural and Planning Cultures Across Regions: Digital Humanities Collaboration Towards Knowledge Integration”, supported by the Unit of Academic Knowledge Integration Studies of Kyoto University Research Coordination Alliance (KURCA), held at Kyoto University, 26-27 March 2017.