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Husband-and-wife collaborators David Young (anthropology, Univ. of Alberta) and Michiko Young have been studying Japanese aesthetics for years. Previously, they wrote The Art of the Japanese Garden, and now they tackle Japanese architecture, perfectly melding East and West to give us a deeply historical and cultural appreciation for the design and construction of Japanese shelter over an astonishing 12,000 years. They explain the elements of structure and the spare glory of the essentials as well as provide many examples that pay tribute to function. The buildings they examine embrace strong societal traditions, a tendency that makes Japanese architecture timeless and always "modern." Nearly 400 illustrations, photographs, and woodcuts reinforce and enhance the outstanding text. The description, visuals, and history of rural thatched roofs are a particular high point. A tribute and rich entrée to a beautiful architectural form; highly recommended.