Rundown Japanese Dorms

At the southern edge of Kyoto University's Yoshida Campus in Kyoto lies a tree-shrouded, sprawling and ramshackle wooden building. It is decrepit and sometimes even interweaved with overgrowth. But this building is no ruin. It's the Yoshida-ryo dormitory -- a bewildering anachronism in a city based on the idea of living history. Nearly a century old, and looking every day of it, Yoshida-ryo is very likely the last remaining example of the once common Japanese wooden university dormitory. This building was built in 1913. Organized from the very beginning to be self-administering through a dormitory association, the students themselves have been responsible for selecting new applicants for residency. This autonomy, however, came under full-scale assault in 1971, when the Ministry of Education began a policy of regulating or closing dormitories, which were seen as "hotbeds for various kinds of conflict." University authorities first tried to close Yoshida-ryo completely in 1979, and after failing to overcome opposition over the next 10 years finally closed the Western Yoshida-ryo across the street. While the facilities are sub-par by modern standards, the unbelievably low rent of Y=2,500 per month (technically Y=400 rent, Y=1,600 utilities and Y=500 to fund the Yoshida-ryo Residents Association) and bohemian atmosphere make it an attractive living place for financially challenged students (including a large number of self-financed students from China).

Rundown Japanese Dorms

Rundown Japanese Dorms
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