Itō Chūta

Itō Chūta
Born 26 October 1867
Yonezawa, Yamagata
Died 7 April 1954
Bunkyō, Tokyo
Nationality Japan
Alma mater Imperial University
Occupation Architect
In this Japanese name, the family name is Itō.

Itō Chūta (伊東忠太) (1867–1954) was a Japanese architect, architectural historian, and critic. He is recognized as the leading architect and architectural theorist of early twentieth-century Imperial Japan.[1]


Second son of a doctor in Yonezawa, present-day Yamagata Prefecture, Itō was educated in Tokyo.[2] From 1889 to 1892 he studied under Tatsuno Kingo in the Department of Architecture at the Imperial University.[1] Josiah Conder was still teaching in the department, while Ernest Fenollosa and Okakura Kakuzō were also influential in the formation of Itō's ideas.[1][3] For graduation he designed a Gothic cathedral and wrote a dissertation on architectural theory.[1] His doctoral thesis was on the architecture of Hōryū-ji.[1][4] He was professor of architecture at the Imperial University from 1905, then of Waseda University from 1928.[5]

Itō travelled widely, to the Forbidden City with photographer Ogawa Kazumasa in 1901 and subsequently, after fourteen months in China, to Burma, India, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Europe and the United States.[2][5][6] Later he was involved in the planning of Chōsen Jingū in Seoul and a survey of the monuments of Jehol in Manchukuo.[7][8] He incorporated elements of the diverse architectural styles he encountered in his many writings and approximately one hundred design projects.[5][9]

Itō helped formulate the Ancient Temples and Shrines Preservation Law of 1897, an early measure to protect the Cultural Properties of Japan.[10] He is also credited with coining the Japanese term for architecture, namely kenchiku (建築) (lit. 'erection of buildings') in place of the former zōkagaku (造家学) (lit. 'study of making houses').[2] A member of the Japan Academy, in 1943 he was awarded the Order of Culture.[1][5] Itō has more recently been criticised, with specific reference to his writings on Ise Grand Shrine, for having 'blurred a religio-political discourse with an architectural discourse'.[11]


Project Date Location Comments Image
Heian Jingū[2][12] 1895 Sakyō-ku, Kyoto recreation on a smaller scale of the Daikokuden (Great Hall of State) of the ancient capital of Heian-kyō; Itō worked with fellow architect Kigo Kiyotaka, drawing on his studies of old records and picture scrolls
Asano Sōichirō pavilion (浅野総一郎邸)[13] 1909 Tokyo Japanese-style pavilion; destroyed in the Great Kantō earthquake
Niraku Villa (二楽荘 Nirakusō)[5][14] 1910 Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture for Ōtani Kōzui, one of the pioneering explorers of Central Asia and the Silk Road; destroyed by arson on 18 October 1932; to the north of Konan University; photographic documentation exists
Asoka Shinryōjo[15][16] 1912 Shimogyō-ku, Kyoto for the Shinshū Believers Life Insurance Company; now the Hongan-ji Dendo'in; Municipal Cultural Property 34°59′28.9″N 135°45′14.3″E / 34.991361°N 135.753972°E / 34.991361; 135.753972
Main Gate (正門 Seimon), Tokyo Imperial University[17][18] 1912 Bunkyō, Tokyo replacement for the Edo-period Akamon, moved to one side; Emperor Meiji was the first to ride through, on graduation day 1912; Itō was professor at the University from 1905; Registered Tangible Cultural Property
Meiji Jingū[2] 1920 Shibuya, Tokyo shrine to Emperor Meiji; destroyed in the Tokyo air raids of World War II; rebuilt in 1958 following the original design
Uesugi Jinja (上杉神社)[19] 1923 Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture rebuilding after a great fire in 1919 that destroyed over a thousand buildings; in the city of Itō's birth
Great Hall (大殿 Daiden), Zōjō-ji[5][20] 1925 Minato, Tokyo an earlier hall was lost in a fire in 1873 and its replacement in a fire in 1909; Itō's hall was destroyed in 1945; the Great Hall was rebuilt in 1978
Tekigai Villa (荻外荘 Tekigaisō)[5] 1927 Suginami, Tokyo for Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe, founder of the Taisei Yokusankai movement
Gion Kaku (祇園閣)[21] 1927 Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 34 m; in Gion; Registered Tangible Cultural Property
Ōkura Shūkokan (大倉集古館)[2][22][23][24] 1927 Minato, Tokyo rebuilding after the Great Kantō earthquake; houses the Ōkura Museum of Art with a collection that includes three National Treasures; Registered Tangible Cultural Property
Kanematsu Auditorium (兼松講堂 Kanematsu kōdō)[22][25] 1927 Kunitachi, Tokyo Romanesque Revival style; part of Hitotsubashi University; Registered Tangible Cultural Property
Former Hankyū Umeda Station Concourse (旧阪急梅田駅地上駅コンコース)[26] 1929 Kita-ku, Osaka with dome, gilding, chandeliers, and arabesque
Tokyo Memorial Hall (東京都慰霊堂 Tōkyōto ireidō)[22][27] 1930 Sumida, Tokyo Dedicated to 58,000 victims of the Great Kantō earthquake of 1 September 1923 and 105,000 victims of the bombing of Tokyo on the night of 9/10 March 1945
Tokyo Reconstruction Memorial Hall (東京都復興記念館 Tōkyōto fukkō kinenkan)[22] 1931 Sumida, Tokyo houses exhibits relating to reconstruction after the Great Kantō earthquake; located in Yokoamichō Park near the Tokyo Memorial Hall
Yūshūkan[22] 1931 Chiyoda, Tokyo rebuilding after the Great Kantō earthquake; museum of Yasukuni Jinja
Shōgyōden (聖教殿), Hokekyō-ji[22] 1931 Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture reinforced concrete structure to house temple treasures, including texts by Nichiren, founder of the Nichiren School (On Establishing the Correct teaching for the Peace of the Land and The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind)
Sōji-ji Daisodo[28]1933Tsurumi-ku, YokohamaMonks' training center
Shinmon (神門), Yasukuni Jinja[29][30] 1934 Chiyoda, Tokyo reminiscent of the shinmei-zukuri style of the Ise Grand Shrine
Tsukiji Hongan-ji[2][22][31] 1934 Chūō, Tokyo rebuilding after the Great Kantō earthquake; evokes chaitya no.9 at the Ajanta Caves; near the Tsukiji fish market; Registered Tangible Cultural Property
Haiseiden (俳聖殿)[32] 1942 Iga, Mie Prefecture for the 300th anniversary celebrations of the birth of Matsuo Bashō; in the grounds of Iga Ueno Castle; Important Cultural Property

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chuta Ito.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Watanabe Toshio (2006). "Japanese Imperial Architecture: from Thomas Roger Smith to Itō Chūta". In Conant, Ellen P. Challenging past and present: the metamorphosis of nineteenth-century Japanese art. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 240–253. ISBN 978-0-8248-2937-7.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Tai Kawabata (23 April 2003). "Chuta Ito: A builder of dreams". The Japan Times. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  3. Suzuki Yuichi (1984). "A Study on Chuta Itoh's architectural idea: influence on Chuta Itoh's artistic idea of E. F. Fenollosa and Tensin Okakura". Summaries of Technical Papers of Annual Convention (in Japanese). Architectural Institute of Japan. 59: 2703–4.
  4. Finn, Dallas (1995). Meiji Revisited: The Sites of Victorian Japan. Weatherhill. pp. 167f. ISBN 0-8348-0288-0.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "伊東忠太 (建) 昭和29年4月7日没". National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  6. "Scenes from Late Qing Dynasty China: Photographs by Ogawa Kazumasa, Hayasaki Kokichi and Sekino Tadashi". Tokyo National Museum. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  7. Aoi Akihito (1999). "Selection of the site for the Chōsen Shrine 1912–1918: Its relations to development of Japanese settlement and the early urban improvement in Keijo (Seoul)". Journal of architecture, planning and environmental engineering. Transactions of AIJ (in Japanese). Kobe Design University. 521: 211–8.
  8. Tanaka Sadahiko (2003). "The investigation and preservation activities of the heritage of Jehol in Manchukuo: Cross-cultural understanding through the investigation and preservation activities of historical buildings in Japanese colony". Journal of architecture, planning and environmental engineering (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. 569: 201–8.
  9. "伊東忠太". Yamagata Prefecture. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  10. Coaldrake, William Howard (1996). Architecture and Authority in Japan. Routledge. p. 248. ISBN 0-415-05754-X.
  11. Zhongjie Lin (2010). Kenzo Tange and the Metabolist movement: urban utopias of modern Japan. Routledge. p. 67 (quoting Jonathan M. Reynolds). ISBN 978-0-415-77659-2.
  12. "Heian-jingu Shrine". Kyoto City. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  13. Finn, Dallas (1995). Meiji Revisited: The Sites of Victorian Japan. Weatherhill. p. 191. ISBN 0-8348-0288-0.
  14. "大谷光瑞と二楽荘". Kobe City. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  15. Finn, Dallas (1995). Meiji Revisited: The Sites of Victorian Japan. Weatherhill. pp. 200f. ISBN 0-8348-0288-0.
  16. "京都市指定・登録文化財-建造物 – 本願寺伝道院". Kyoto City. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  17. Finn, Dallas (1995). Meiji Revisited: The Sites of Victorian Japan. Weatherhill. pp. 242f. ISBN 0-8348-0288-0.
  18. "東京大学本郷正門及び門衛所". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  19. "上杉神社". Yonezawa City. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  20. "増上寺の歴史". Zōjō-ji. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  21. "祇園閣". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  22. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Watanabe Hiroshi (2001). The Architecture of Tōkyō. Edition Axel Menges. ISBN 3-930698-93-5.
  23. "Okura Museum of Art – outline". Okura Museum of Art. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  24. "大倉集古館陳列館". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  25. "一橋大学兼松講堂". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  26. "旧梅田駅コンコース". Hankyu Railway. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  27. "東京都慰霊堂". Tokyo Memorial Association. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  28. "Sojiji". A Guide to Kamakura. Asahi net. March 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  29. "神門". Yasukuni Jinja. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  30. "米沢市出身故伊東忠太工学博士設計による建築物 (築地本願寺本堂、湯島聖堂、靖国神社神門)". Yamagata Prefecture. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  31. "築地本願寺本堂". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  32. "俳聖殿". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 20 February 2012.

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