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Yang Yu Last modified date:2024.06.03

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Academic Degree
Ph.D. in Art History, M.PhL in Art History, M.A in Art History
Country of degree conferring institution (Overseas)
Yes Doctor
Field of Specialization
Modern Japanese Art and Architectural History
Total Priod of education and research career in the foreign country
Outline Activities
Yang's research focuses on Urban Space and Architecture in East Asia during the twentieth century, in particular, the interaction between colonialism and regionalism in Japan and Colonial Manchuria. She is currently writing a manuscript on the urban space and architecture in colonial Manchuria, focusing on the spatial configuration of the interrelationship among various social groups.
Yang has taught in the United States, Japan, and China. At Kyushu University, she teaches a variety of topics in Japanese Art History, Japanese Architectural History, and Modern Japanese History.
Yang has planed international symposiums to connect young researchers with senior scholars and to create an international network with Kyudai in the center.
Research Interests
  • Urban Space and Colonial Architecture in Asia,
    Residential and Commercial Spaces of the Chinese, Japanese, and Russians in Manchuria during the early twentieth century,
    East Asian Studies from the Perspective of Global History,
    Modern Japanese Architecture and Visual Culture
    keyword : Architecture and Urban Space in Manchuria, Modern Japanese Architecture and Visual Culture, East Asian Studies, Global History Theory, Japanese Art
Academic Activities
1. Yu Yang, Book Review: Alice Y. Tseng. Modern Kyoto: Building for Ceremony and Commemoration, 1868–1940. University of Hawai‘i Press, 2018, Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University, 2020.03.
1. YANG Yu, Shadows of Urban Utopia: Japanese Housing in Colonial Manchuria, Proceedings of the 35th World Congress of Art History – Motion: Transformation, 317-322, 2021.09.
2. YANG YU, Constructing a Manchurian Identity: Architect Endō Arata and Central Bank Club, Modern Art Asia, 73-93, 2012.05.
3. YANG YU, Kamisaka Sekka’s Later Works and Kyoto Kōgei, Journal of Social Aesthetics, 2, 1-10, 2014.11.
4. YANG YU, Touring Buildings of Colonial Modernity: Architecture and Tourism in Manchuria (1905-1945), EAAC 2015 Gwangju Practical History: History in Practice and Practice in History during the 21st Century, 895-898, 2015.10, This paper examines the Japanese cultural construction of the image of Manchuria through the interaction of tourism and modern architecture in the early twentieth century. The examination of postcards, photos, and travel-logs related to Japanese tours to Manchuria reveals that the Japanese tourists' perception of Manchuria has changed from an adventurous, remote land to a safe, idealist and entertaining theme park. Architecture played a significant role in the construction of Japanese tourists' experiences of Manchuria. Buildings in various modern styles construted by the Japanese architects in the new capital, shinkyo, not only served as symbols of Japanese authority, but also contained a picturesque quality to be looked at from tourist buses. The visual abundance of photos and postcards of these buildings therefore reinforced the image of Manchuria for mass consumption as modern and exotic, and the actual spatial experiences were intentionally minimalized, if not ignored. By situating the bus tours in Shinkyo within the historical context of colonial tourism and discourse of modern Japanese architecture, this paper characterizes the unique urban spatial experience of the colonial modernity..
1. YANG YU, Reflection on Utopian Manchuria and New Perspectives, Brown Bag Seminar, 2024.04.
2. YANG YU, Touring Old Lands with New Sights: Representations of Early Japanese Imperial Expansions, AAS-in-Asia 2023, 2023.06.
3. YANG YU, The Land of Aida: Urban Space of Manchuria (1905-1945), Hybrid Workshop between Kyudai and Glasgow University: Space Between/Aidagara: Landscape, Mindscape, Architecture, 2023.03.
4. YANG YU, Embracing Climate and Culture: Depicting Others at Japanese Art Exhibitions 1908-1944, 2022 35th Committee International d’Historie de L’Art- Migration, São Paulo, 2022.01.
5. Yu YANG, Shadows of Bright Houses: Photographs of Architecture in Colonial Manchuria (1900-1945), The 35th Committee International d’Historie de l’Art, 2019.09, During the first half of the twentieth century, Japan’s colonial expansion in East Asia
brought many Japanese architects to Manchuria, present-day northeast China. They have
built all over Manchuria—government offices, commercial buildings, and residential
houses—and left a tremendous collection of visual records. The paper examines
these photographs from a different perspective, not merely considering them as
visual propagandas, but to focus on their visual power and function within the
exchange of people, objects, and ideas between Japan and Manchuria, and the
relationship between visual representation and space.
This presentation explores the role of visual representation in defining and shaping the
residential area in urban Manchuria during the first half of the twentieth century. Taking
photographs, drawings, and plans of residential houses displayed at the 1921 architectural
exhibition in Dalian as a case study, I examine Japanese architects’ designs for private
home and houses, published in architectural journals and displayed in architectural
exhibitions throughout the 1920s. Photos of houses in Manchuria published in the 1920s
were used to construct the daily space for a rising upper-middle class different from early
Japanese settlers, and to promote the housing reform in Japan.
After the establishment of Manchukuo in 1932, photographs of buildings in
Manchuria were included in the tourist postcards, one of the most popular
souvenirs for Japanese group tours in Manchuria that reached the peak around
1941. In particular, there were significant numbers of photographs of panoramic
views, public buildings, and construction sites: which functioned as visual allegories
of Manchukuo’s utopia future. Residential houses or interior of them were no longer
the center. Tourist postcards include exteriors of residential houses as symbolic icons of
Japan’s colonial rule. They have turned the buildings into products for the consumption
of mass tourism.
In conclusion, photographs, plans, and drawings or residential houses in Manchuria
during the first half of the twentieth century underwent a changing function. In the
beginning, they contributed to the construction and consolidation of the daily space
for the newly arriving upper-middle Japanese in the region. Later, they were
included as part of the tourist experience by compressing three-dimensional space
into flat surface and reducing the role of architecture into icons and symbols. The
case of colonial Manchuria, therefore, illustrates the tension between architecture
and its visual representation and their fluid boundaries and interchangeability..
6. YANG YU, Urban Configuration and Transformation in Colonial Manchuria: Collaborations and Competitions Among Multi-Ethnic Communities, The 12th International Symposium on Architectural Interchanges in Asia: “Confluence of Architecture in the Age of Super Connectivity”, 2018.10, 本発表は、現在中国東北地方である旧満洲の都市空間の発展と変遷を取り上げ、 先行研究と異なるグローバルヒストリーの視点から20世紀前半の満洲地域の特徴と多様性を明らかにする。新たな文献と視覚資料を分析し、商業空間と住宅地における雑居する実態を指摘し、日本、中国、そしてロシアの間の複雑な利益関係、また社会階級がどのような空間に影響を与えたかを動態的に再考する。このように、地域における植民地支配 の実態を把握することが可能になった。.
Membership in Academic Society
  • Architectural Institute of Japan
  • AAS
  • CAA
  • Japanese Association of Modern East Asian History
  • Society of Urban and Territorial History
Educational Activities
2018 Spring: Academic English Writing Seminar: Abstract Workshop
2019 Fall: Graduate Seminar Japanese Architecture; Introduction to Modern Japanese Society (JICA/co-teaching)
2020 Spring: Special Issues in Modern Japanese Society (JICA/co-teaching)
2020 Fall: Thesis Guidance Seminar (IMAP/co-teaching); Topics in Japanese Art and Architecture: Reading Workshop on Modern Japanese Spaces (IMAP); Introduction to Modern Japanese Society (JICA/co-teaching)
2021 Spring: Special Issues in Modern Japanese Society (JICA/co-teaching); Research Resources and Methods (RRM) (IMAP/co-teaching)
2021 Fall: Topics in Art and Architecture; Research Resources and Methods (RRM) (IMAP/co-teaching)
2022 Spring: Meiji Culture & Space; Academic Writing and Reading; Research Resources and Methods (RRM) (IMAP/co-teaching); Special Issues in Modern Japanese Society (JICA/co-teaching)