Takeo Kamiya, Architect

Takeo Kamiya


1969 Graduated from Tokyo University of Arts
1971 Staff Architect of Kazumasa Yamashita Architects and Associates
Designed the "From First Building" ( Annual Design Award of Architectural Institute of Japan ) etc.
1976 The first trip to India for 3 months to research Indian Architecture
1980 Established Takeo Kamiya Architect and Associates
1983 The First Prize of the "Concours of Architecture in Kanagawa"( "Town House in Yokohama" )
1987 Translated the "L'Architecture de l'Islam" of Henri Stierlin ( Hara Shobo, Tokyo )
Being selected in the "SD Review" in the magazine "SD" and its exhibition ( "Cloisters" )
1989 Translated the "Gardens of Paradise" of John Brookes ( Kajima Shuppan, Tokyo )
1991 Entry to the Good Interior Design Competition ( "Paradise Garden")
1993 Translated "The Hindu Temple" of George Michell ( Kajima Shuppan, Tokyo )
Serial Essay "Jaina Architecture" on the architetural magazine "AT"
1994 The 12th trip to India to complete taking photographs of Indian monuments
1996 Published "The Architecture in India" ( Toho Shuppan, Osaka )
Published "The Guide to the Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent" ( TOTO Shuppan, Tokyo )
1997 Supervision of the book "Unesco World Heritage, vol. 5, Indian Subcontinent" ( Kodansha, Tokyo)
1998 Serial Essay the "Wooden Architecture in India" on the architetural magazine "Kenchiku Forum"
1999 Lecturer at Tokyo University ( "History of Architecture in India" )
Lecturer at Senshu University ( "Architecture as a Fine Art" )
2000 Lecturer at Asahi Culture Center ( "History of Architecture in India" )
2001 Lecturer at World Archaeological Academy ( "Architecture and Urbanism in India" )
2002 Serial Essay the "Wooden Temples in Himachal Pradesh" on the architetural magazine "Kenchiku Tokyo"
2003 Published the English edition of "The Guide to the Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent" ( Architecture Autonomous, Goa )
2003 Serial Essay the "Gallery of World Architecture " on the monthly magazine "Eurasia News"
2004 Serial Essay "Sacred Architecture in the World" on the religious newspaper "Chugai-Nippou"
2005 Published "The Sacred Architecture in India" ( Shogakukan, Tokyo )
2006 Wrote a book "Architecture of Islam", but not published due to the persecution of the Japanese construction mafia
2014 Published the private press edition of the "Architecture of Islam" by 100 copies
Art Activity in his High School Days

Office Takeo Kamiya Architect and Associates
3-1-8 -506 Takinogawa, Kita-ku, Tokyo, Japan__114 -0023
Tel : +81 - (0) 3 -3949 -9409
E-mail :


By Bevinda Collaco

Historian Takeo Kamiya's "Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent"
has been translated into English. Explore Indian architecture
through the eyes of a Japanese historian.
(From the Sunday Mid Day, 7th Septemper, 2003)


Imagine dividing the Indian subcontinent into small squares and spending five weeks exploring each area. Takeo Kamiya, a Japanese architect and historian, did exactly that, discovering and documenting through photographs, notes and mesurements, monuments that have stood the test of more than 2,000 years of invasions and erosion.

Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent is his book on the same. Being strapped for funds Kamiya could only undertake a few trips a year. His documentation took 20 years to complete and he published his book, in Japanese for the Japanese. He says, "India made a great impact on Japan through Buddhism. It is difficult for the average Japanese who cannot take long holidays, to make an extensive tour of India. This book is aimed at those people. This book introduces Indian architecture through the ages, from the old ages to the present, h Islamic architecture and the Colonial style architecture during the British rule also included."

It would have remained in Japan for Japanese eyes only, until Indian architect Gerard da Cunha from Goa, was invited to Tokyo for an Asian architects' meet. He was gifted this book. Leafing through it, da Cunha was so excited by it, that he showed it to Sangita Jindal, for whom he is building the Vidyanagar township in Bellary, Karnataka. Jindal decided to support the publication of the book in English.

Da Cunha lost no time in getting the translation done by the Japan Center in Bagalore. It was edited by architect Annabel Macarenhas in New Delhi and printed in Hyderabad. Da Cunha has brought Takeo Kamiya to India and they have presented ;the book to President APJ Kalam at Rashtrapati Bhavan. It will be released in New Delhi by Shri Jagmohan, Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, before the duo take it on a book tour to seven other cities of India where Takeo Kamiya will deliver slide lectures.

"I wish this book was around when I was a studen of architecture," says da Cunha. "We have books on Greco-Roman, European and American architecture, but Indian architecture which is the richest of all, has never been documented in its entirety."

The book has more than 1,800 colour photographs of exteriors, interiors and detailing. It has maps and illustrations that give the reader an exact idea of what a ruined structure originally looked like. Where plans were not available, Kamiya clambered over the massive structures taking his own measurements. It was hard work, he says, but he could not tear himself away. Kamiya also gives readers the best routes by which to reach each and every site.


Takeo Kamiya is delighted that his book is flying high over the Japanese horizon to a global redership. In an e-mail interview, he requested I keep it simple, because his English was not very good.

He says he chose to explore India because as an architect he was familiar only with European and American architecture.

He says, "I have travelled in India 17 times since 1976. The style of journey has changed. I take airplanes and taxis these days, while I used to take trains, cycle-rickshwas and tongas when I was young. I miss the old way of slow speed of travel. I believe the year 1976 was the best year for the travel in India, because it was during a short period of peace of international relations, there were much less tourists, there was nobody except for wsweepers even in the precincts of the Taj Mahal, early in the morning, and I could go up any towers or high places whereas most of that is prohibited now."

About his discovery of India he says, "Although my travels in India were not so comfortable, I found a completely different world from Japan and Europe. Everything is out raw and naked, unlike in Japan where everything is wrapped in some invisible soft cushions. Everything could exist in its natural state, without keeping the same condition as others. That 'disciovery' was my best experience in India."

Did he ever want to just give up and go home?

"In making the book? No," he says. "In my first journey to India? Yes, I wanted to go back to Japan as soon as possible on the very first day, but after one week I felt that the three months I could sped that first time would be too short a period. It took me 20 years."

And what does he feel about the English version of his book?

"I feel gratification that the book will help Indians and people in the rest of the world to get to know about the great architectural heritage of India. I am sure it will be especially useful for architectural students in India who will create future Indian architecture. An architect has to know the architectural traditions of his own country."



© Takeo Kamiya
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