Cultural Wisdom in Design and Planning: Linguistic Terms from Japan

Reference work entry


Cultures have different ways of viewing, understanding, and acting on the world and have developed words, linguistic terms, and concepts for these. These linguistic terms in turn provide a window into what people of that culture value. Here, Japanese linguistic terms and concepts are examined to obtain their emic or local meanings and to acquire a deep understanding of the cultural ideas and principles embedded, a picture of the sensitivities required, sensibilities expected, contextual knowledge created, and substratum of wisdom generated. These are categorized as concepts concerning (a) environment and nature; (b) Japanese values, way of life, preferences, and social relations; and (c) people and the built environment. This work draws on three theoretical frameworks: ideas about linguistic relativity, conceptual resources, and ways to understand culture-design relationships. The conclusion suggests that such a geography of language study highlights language relativity and islanding, and emphasizes the special sensitivities and sensibilities utilized, and the reservoir of cultural wisdom that can lead to research and professional work with deeper knowledge and greater potential.


Linguistic concepts Cultural wisdom Values Lifestyle Design Planning Linguistic relativity 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.The University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Tokyo Denki UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Hokkaido University of ScienceSapporoJapan

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