Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Tall Buildings in Numbers
Japan: A History of Tall Innovations
April 29, 2015
Download the PDF Tall Buildings in Numbers
View the CTBUH Japan Inaugural Event
This research study examines, in interactive graphic format, the history of tall building innovation that has characterized the island nation of Japan since the early 1960s, highlighting a number of the most significant tall achievements in the nation's modern history.
Skyline of Important Skyscrapers in Japan. © CTBUH (View interactive version)
Japan is one of the world’s most densely populated nations, with an average of 339 people per square kilometer. It is also one of the world’s most active seismic zones. More than 140,000 people died in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, which leveled the nation’s capitol of Tokyo. The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011 was the world’s costliest natural disaster to date, with damages estimated at $235 billion. The combination of these factors has driven sophisticated design and engineering innovations that responded to Japan’s uniquely challenging environmental conditions, including in the tall building field, which continue to this day.
Timeline of Important Skyscrapers in Japan © CTBUH (View interactive version)

This study is included in Issue II of the CTBUH Journal, which focuses on Japan’s latest innovations in tall buildings, from mixed-use programming, to resilient urban planning, to seismic and façade engineering, and more. The themes explored in this publication coincide with the exciting program for the inaugural CTBUH Japan Chapter Event, entitled Vertical Habitat – Vision 2020 and Beyond, to be held May 22 at Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. Speakers will include Professor Peter Rees of the Bartlett School, CTBUH Chairman David Malott, Principal at KPFKai-uwe Bergmann, Partner at BIG, Toru Abe, CEO and Managing Director at Sekisui House Australia, Satoshi Toyoda, Partner at Rafael Viñoly Architects, and Tomohiko Yamanashi, Principal at Nikken Sekkei. Speakers will be joined by a panel of Japan’s key decision-makers to  discuss Tokyo’s plans for 2020 and beyond.

Mapping Japan: Population and Skyscrapers © CTBUH (View interactive version)