Built in 1913, the Yoshida Dormitory, located on the Yoshida campus of Kyoto University, is the oldest student dormitory in Japan. Self-governed by its residents, host to a small flock of chickens, and with the monthly rent costing only 2500 Yen, the dormitory has historically been a haven for progressive ideas, radical lifestyles, experimentation and freedom within Japan’s conservative framework and strict social rules. The dormitory serves as a meeting place for the local community and as a breeding ground for artists, art movements and youth culture. At several points throughout the late 20th century, the Yoshida dormitory was involved in (violent and nonviolent) protests. In 2019, the university filed a lawsuit aiming to force students to abandon the building, launching a legal dispute that continues to date. Kanta Nomura’s photobook “The Yoshida Dormitory Students’ History” documents the history of this unique institution in photographs, archival images, anecdotes and newspaper reports. Through its many sources, voices and perspectives, the book examines the genesis and historical background of the Yoshida dormitory, its unique evolution throughout the decades, as well as its importance within Japanese society and for the students of Kyoto University.
All text included in Japanese and English.