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STORY 2

Living in the Land of Rain

Deep eaves of thatched roof homes helped to prevent rain from coming inside.
Deep eaves of thatched roof homes helped to prevent rain from coming inside. (© Osamu Nakamura)
  • Since ancient times, Japan’s abundant rainfall has made weathering one of the most important considerations in housing development. Through generations, the Japanese have passed on the philosophy of embracing nature as it comes and devised ways to live healthily and comfortably during months of long and heavy rain and humidity.

  • Before Western-style houses were introduced to Japan in the late 19th century, Japanese homes had no windows and few internal walls. Instead, traditional Japanese houses were equipped with movable fittings such as sliding doors and panels made of thick paper called fusuma to partition off rooms and ensure ventilation. Another key feature of traditional Japanese architecture, engawa (wooden corridor), not only protected the house by preventing rain from coming in but also served as a buffer space between the inside and outside of the house. From the engawa, people also enjoyed the view of the surrounding nature, or shakkei (borrowed landscape), from inside the house.

Various other features, such as deep eaves, steep sloped roofs, storm shutters, and the Japanese style hearth, are examples of how the Japanese incorporated mechanisms to reduce humidity inside the house and live comfortably in their homes. While living in modern Western style houses today, the focus on ways to live comfortably alongside nature and rain remains a priority for Japanese lifestyles, and is core to LIXIL’s product innovations and its Passive First philosophy.

Looking from the courtyard, deep eaves and engawa surrounding the house are prominent in this traditional Japanese farm house. The house was built by a wealthy farmer in Tono, Iwate, in the late 19th century.

Looking from the courtyard, deep eaves and engawa surrounding the house are prominent in this traditional Japanese farm house. The house was built by a wealthy farmer in Tono, Iwate, in the late 19th century. (Tono Furusato Village, Iwate © HIROSHI KURODA / SEBUN PHOTO / amanaimages)

The shoin, drawing room, of Shisen-do, a hermitage built in Kyoto by a samurai turned scholar of Chinese classics, Ishikawa Jozan, in 1641. Shisen-do is known for its garden, the beauty of which can be enjoyed throughout the four seasons.
The shoin, drawing room, of Shisen-do, a hermitage built in Kyoto by a samurai turned scholar of Chinese classics, Ishikawa Jozan, in 1641. Shisen-do is known for its garden, the beauty of which can be enjoyed throughout the four seasons. (Shisen-do, Kyoto © Shisen-do)
(© Shinji Hamana)

STORY 2

Living in the Land of Rain

  • Japan is a land of rain. Annual rainfall amounts to approximately 2,000mm per year, two to three times that of Germany or France. Rain is no doubt a blessing without which human beings cannot survive, but it also brings with it humidity, which increases the risk of illnesses and diseases.

Deep eaves of thatched roof homes helped to prevent rain from coming inside.
Deep eaves of thatched roof homes helped to prevent rain from coming inside. (© Osamu Nakamura)
  • Since ancient times, Japan’s abundant rainfall has made weathering one of the most important considerations in housing development. Through generations, the Japanese have passed on the philosophy of embracing nature as it comes and devised ways to live healthily and comfortably during months of long and heavy rain and humidity.

  • Before Western-style houses were introduced to Japan in the late 19th century, Japanese homes had no windows and few internal walls. Instead, traditional Japanese houses were equipped with movable fittings such as sliding doors and panels made of thick paper called fusuma to partition off rooms and ensure ventilation. Another key feature of traditional Japanese architecture, engawa (wooden corridor), not only protected the house by preventing rain from coming in but also served as a buffer space between the inside and outside of the house. From the engawa, people also enjoyed the view of the surrounding nature, or shakkei (borrowed landscape), from inside the house.

  • Various other features, such as deep eaves, steep sloped roofs, storm shutters, and the Japanese style hearth, are examples of how the Japanese incorporated mechanisms to reduce humidity inside the house and live comfortably in their homes. While living in modern Western style houses today, the focus on ways to live comfortably alongside nature and rain remains a priority for Japanese lifestyles, and is core to LIXIL’s product innovations and its Passive First philosophy.

Looking from the courtyard, deep eaves and engawa surrounding the house are prominent in this traditional Japanese farm house. The house was built by a wealthy farmer in Tono, Iwate, in the late 19th century.

Looking from the courtyard, deep eaves and engawa surrounding the house are prominent in this traditional Japanese farm house. The house was built by a wealthy farmer in Tono, Iwate, in the late 19th century. (Tono Furusato Village, Iwate © HIROSHI KURODA / SEBUN PHOTO / amanaimages)

The shoin, drawing room, of Shisen-do, a hermitage built in Kyoto by a samurai turned scholar of Chinese classics, Ishikawa Jozan, in 1641. Shisen-do is known for its garden, the beauty of which can be enjoyed throughout the four seasons.
The shoin, drawing room, of Shisen-do, a hermitage built in Kyoto by a samurai turned scholar of Chinese classics, Ishikawa Jozan, in 1641. Shisen-do is known for its garden, the beauty of which can be enjoyed throughout the four seasons. (Shisen-do, Kyoto © Shisen-do)
  • As seen in the photo of Shisendo in the previous page, the wooden corridor surrounding the room, engawa, effectively marries the garden with the room. Inspired by the concept of engawa, LIXIL provides various window and garden room products that connect the inside of the house with the outside, providing a comfortable way of living.

(© Shinji Hamana)

Passive First

Under the idea of “Passive First”, LIXIL embraced the concept of pursuing comfortable living and eco-friendliness in homes, factoring in the wisdom from traditional Japanese-style houses. The architectural design philosophy prioritizes efficient heat insulation of the building itself as well as use of natural ventilation and light to provide comfortable living. Placing large windows on the windward wall and deep eaves and balcony shades to prevent direct sun in the summer, LIXIL offers solutions to reduce the need to cool or heat rooms using electrical appliances.

Passive First

Under the idea of “Passive First”, LIXIL embraced the concept of pursuing comfortable living and eco-friendliness in homes, factoring in the wisdom from traditional Japanese-style houses. The architectural design philosophy prioritizes efficient heat insulation of the building itself as well as use of natural ventilation and light to provide comfortable living. Placing large windows on the windward wall and deep eaves and balcony shades to prevent direct sun in the summer, LIXIL offers solutions to reduce the need to cool or heat rooms using electrical appliances.

Innovations in Housing Materials

  • One revolutionary invention by LIXIL to improve the comfort of the living space is ECOCARAT, natural functional ceramic tiles for interior wall surfaces. Not only are these tiles aesthetically attractive, they freshen the air and enhance comfort in the home by controlling room humidity, absorbing harmful substances, and reducing

  • odors. Since their initial launch in 1998, these tiles have helped foster healthy and comfortable living in Japanese homes.

Picture of a ceremony held to bury earthenware pipes in Tokoname in the early 20th Century.

TOSTEM, one of the founding companies of LIXIL, is a leading manufacturer of window systems and has continuously pursued technological innovations that suit the climates in which our customers live. Our window systems provide high thermal insulation, enabling homeowners to install large windows in spite of long and harsh winters.

Recalling TOSTEM's traditions in advancing new housing concepts in Japan, LIXIL participated in HOUSE VISION 2016 TOKYO EXHIBITION, developing a house in partnership with internationally acclaimed architect Shigeru Ban that embodies flexible and open living spaces using an innovative window system.

(Nacasa & Partners Inc. © HOUSE VISION)

Recalling TOSTEM's traditions in advancing new housing concepts in Japan, LIXIL participated in HOUSE VISION 2016 TOKYO EXHIBITION, developing a house in partnership with internationally acclaimed architect Shigeru Ban that embodies flexible and open living spaces using an innovative window system.

  • Story2 Herovisual: Sixty-Nine Stations of Kiso Kaido Highway: Suhara Hiroshige Ando, 1835-38, ukiyo-e Denman Waldo Ross Collection 06.1684 Photography © 2017 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All Rights Reserved. c/o DNPartcom

Innovations in Housing Materials

  • One revolutionary invention by LIXIL to improve the comfort of the living space is ECOCARAT, natural functional ceramic tiles for interior wall surfaces. Not only are these tiles aesthetically attractive, they freshen the air and enhance comfort in the home by controlling room humidity, absorbing harmful substances, and reducing odors. Since their initial launch in 1998, these tiles have helped foster healthy and comfortable living in Japanese homes.

Picture of a ceremony held to bury earthenware pipes in Tokoname in the early 20th Century.

TOSTEM, one of the founding companies of LIXIL, is a leading manufacturer of window systems and has continuously pursued technological innovations that suit the climates in which our customers live. Our window systems provide high thermal insulation, enabling homeowners to install large windows in spite of long and harsh winters.

Recalling TOSTEM's traditions in advancing new housing concepts in Japan, LIXIL participated in HOUSE VISION 2016 TOKYO EXHIBITION, developing a house in partnership with internationally acclaimed architect Shigeru Ban that embodies flexible and open living spaces using an innovative window system.
(Nacasa & Partners Inc. © HOUSE VISION)

Recalling TOSTEM's traditions in advancing new housing concepts in Japan, LIXIL participated in HOUSE VISION 2016 TOKYO EXHIBITION, developing a house in partnership with internationally acclaimed architect Shigeru Ban that embodies flexible and open living spaces using an innovative window system.

  • Story2 Herovisual: Sixty-Nine Stations of Kiso Kaido Highway: Suhara Hiroshige Ando, 1835-38, ukiyo-e Denman Waldo Ross Collection 06.1684 Photography © 2017 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All Rights Reserved. c/o DNPartcom