The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Preface to the internet edition

Preface by Tom Turner

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Josiah Conder (September 28, 1852 - June 21, 1920) was born in England and, at the age of 25, was invited to teach architecture at the Imperial University in Tokyo. Both he and his employers saw his job as the introduction of western architecture to Japan. Conder built up an architectural practice as well as working as a teacher. He became known as the "Father of Japanese architecture" and taught Kingo Tatsuno, Tokuma Katayama, Tatsuzo Sone and Shichijiro Satachi. Conder also took a considerable interest in traditional Japanese architecture and gardens. He published books on The Flowers of Japan and the Art of Floral Arrangement (1891). Landscape Gardening in Japan (1893), with a second edition in 1912 (published as an online etext by The photographs and lithographs are valuable as a historical record of Japanese gardens in the early twentieth century. They do not look as well cared-for as they were in the early twentyfirst century. Conder married a Japanese girl, Kameko Mayeba, and they built a house which was half English and half Japanese. The court awarded him the Third Class Order of the Sacred Treasure and the Fourth Class Order of the Rising Sun. There is a memorial to Josiah Conder on the campus of the College of Engineering at Tokyo University. Conder's Landscape Gardening in Japan is not strong on history, because he had so little published historical material to draw upon. But his book is a of great value as a record of the design ideas and principles used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This information came from Conder's numerous garden visits and discussions with their owners and designers. He was uniquely qualified for this task as both an outsider and an insider to Japanese society and its design traditions. Editorial Note: modern English spellings are given (in brackets) for some of the older spellings which might otherwise cause confusion eg Tokio (Tokyo) and Kioto (Kyoto).