Cigar Society of Chicago

L E N   K U T Y L A
An American Architect in Japan: Part 2
Kyoto and Hiroshima

Len Kutyla is a Chicago architect and long-time Cigar Society and University Club member. This presentation is part of Len's architectural travelog of Japan, begun last September with Part I: Tokyo.  In his introduction to the series, Len wrote,

Japan is a nation of islands in a region of the world that is precariously situated with respect to geography, history, and tectonics. While Japanís location kept it mostly isolated from Chinaís hegemonic tendencies, Japan and China struggled for dominance of the islands for centuries.

Despite its success at keeping the outside world at bay for millennia, Japan was forced to confront global reality in the modern era. (Commodore Perry, for example, worked on behalf of the US government to force Japan into a trade agreement with the United States in the 1850s.)  As a result, Japan has evolved into a unique modern nation: inscrutable to western eyes at times, but often painfully transparent to eastern eyes.

As a result of these dual pressures, Japanese art and culture have become a magnificent blend of harmony and dissonance, point and counterpoint, rigor and fluidity, technology and nature.

I had the pleasure of visiting Japan in the company my daughter, her classmates, and the Japanese scholar who was teaching them Japanese history, culture, and language at the Andrew Jackson Language Academy here in Chicago. While this trip was to only a few parts of Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima), it gave me an eye-opening, instructive, and enchanting window onto Japanís heritage, its people, and its architecture.

I look forward to sharing my story of that trip.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021
5:30-7:00 pm CDT

Sign in 5:00-5:30 pm for informal cigar and cocktail chatter. The event will be called to order at 5:30.
There will be a Q&A session following the lecture. Audience participation is invited. The event will conclude at 7 pm. An optional cocktail party and discussion will continue after the event.

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About the Cigar Society of Chicago

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the city clubs of Chicago is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits.  The Cigar Society of Chicago embraces this tradition and extends it with its Informal Smokers, University Series lectures, and Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.  To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the secretary at