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This paper aims to be a first very brief approach to the complex subject of recent urban housing in Japan.1 Its contents is inserted in a larger study for the University of São Paulo, Brazil, comparing the housing space evolution since the first Modern proposals in three metropolitan areas in the world - Paris, in France, São Paulo, in Brazil, and Osaka, in Japan - in order to sketch some prospective views based on different present-day emerging concepts.

The influence of European Modern Movement ideas on housing can be firstly noted in Japan - just as in France or in Brazil - roughly at the arrival of the industrial mode of production, but the strongest change in the design of Japanese domestic spaces occured probably after the defeat in the World War II, when Modern dwellings started to be massively built throughout the country. From the 1960’s, the outlines of a new, diversified society began to be drawn more clearly, with a gradual shift from mechanization to electronics, or from the Industrial Era to the Post-Industrial one.

Rather than a deeper analyze of this process, the present paper only searches to organize some of the many informations gathered during our stay in Japan in the year of 1994, in the manner of a listing of main points which will be developped in future works. Thus, it is a product of bibliographic survey but also of several visits to traditional, Modern and contemporary housing spaces, encounters with researchers and inhabitants, and interviews with architects who are looking for new architectural solutions and expressions for urban housing programs considering the nowadays metropolitan ways of living.

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