April 18, 2017
Civil Engineering and Architecture
Translated into Japanese
Yoshiaki Yoshimi

There has traditionally been clear demarcation in Japan in education and practice concerning the design and construction of buildings. It may sound strange to many civil engineers and architects outside Japan that the Japanese civil engineers, Doboku engineers, who design and construct roads, dams and bridges, do not deal with buildings, which are left to the structural engineers who belong to the Kenchiku field. In other words,

Thus, American civil engineering and Japanese Kenchiku are broader than Japanese Doboku and American architecture, respectively. Due to the discrepancy, the direct translation of Doboku as civil engineering and Kenchiku as architecture can be misleading as my experiences below show:

A similar ambiguity exists in the translation of the names of professional societies concerning civil engineering and architecture:

The Japan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers calls itself "Japan Section of ASCE" without referring to Doboku. I wish to urge civil engineering departments in Japanese colleges to modify their English names to indicate that buildings are never dealt with. Likewise, departments of architecture in Japanese colleges are urged to modify their English names to indicate that they deal with structural engineering for buildings in addition to architectural design.

I advise civil engineers and architects outside Japan to contact the Architectural Institute of Japan mentioned above and the following organizations if they seek information on structural engineering for buildings in Japan:

I would like to thank Mr. Linden Nishinaga, P.E., LEED AP, for reviewing my article and for making valuable comments.


* There may be other countries.