UTokyo to offer a MOOC on contemporary Japanese architecture to the world

July 12, 2016

The University of Tokyo (UTokyo) will offer a Massive Open Online Course series titled “Four Facets of Contemporary Japanese Architecture: Theory” starting on July 31 via Lead instructor Kengo Kuma, world-renowned architect and Professor of the Graduate School of Engineering, has invited other leading Japanese architects to participate in the course, to be delivered in Japanese with English subtitles.
Framed between the two Tokyo Olympics of 1964 and 2020, this series will explore and reflect on the diversity of contemporary Japanese architecture focusing on four facets: theory, technology, city, and humans. Through lectures by instructors and discussions with some of the most influential Japanese architects, the course will trace the development of contemporary Japanese architecture and will consider its future direction.

The first course, starting on July 31, will focus on one of the four facets of Japanese architecture: theory. Along with the lectures by the course instructors Kengo Kuma, and Yusuke Obuchi, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Engineering, the course will feature discussions with architects who played a significant role in influencing the development of theoretical frameworks that contributed to guiding contemporary Japanese architecture. Terunobu Fujimori, Arata Isozaki, Hisao Kohyama, Kengo Kuma, Hidetoshi Ohno, and Kazuyo Sejima will visit their buildings and discuss the ideas behind their respective works. The second course on technology, starting in the winter of 2017, will feature the buildings by Tadao Ando, Shigeru Ban, Manabu Chiba, Kengo Kuma, Kazuhiko Namba, and Yusuke Obuchi.

About the course, Kengo Kuma commented: “Thanks to the cooperation of some of the greatest Japanese architects living today, we were able to produce an excellent course on contemporary Japanese architecture. We hope that many learners around the world will take the course.” Shigeru Miyagawa, Director of Online Education for UTokyo and MIT Professor describes the significance of this course: “Japan has an unusually large number of eminent architects, and this course provides a unique look into their work. It connects the past with the present and the future, the future being the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We are pleased that Professor Kuma’s design was recently selected for the 2020 Olympic national stadium.” Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT Professor, stated: "We are pleased to deliver UTokyo’s new course on contemporary Japanese architecture. We hope that learners from around the world who are interested in architecture will engage with this exciting new course."
About MOOCs
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses that anybody can take to earn a verified certificate of completion. Top universities around the world offer MOOCs, and the total number of registered learners on the Coursera and edX platforms has reached more than 22 million. Along with self improvement, learners are using MOOCs to improve their professional skills and the individually validated certificates are helping in the workplace and in career changes. UTokyo was the first Japanese university to offer MOOCs with two courses on the Coursera platform in September 2013. As of February 2016, UTokyo has seven courses available (four via Coursera and three via edX). More than 250,000 students from over 180 countries have enrolled in these courses.
UTokyo’s edX page:
Four Facets of Contemporary Japanese Architecture: Theory course page:
Four Facets of Contemporary Japanese Architecture: Technology course page:


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