Azby Brown is a native of New Orleans, and has lived in Japan since 1985. He is a leading authority on Japanese architecture, design, and environmentalism, and the author of many influential books and articles, including The Very Small Home (2005), Just Enough: Lessons in living green from traditional Japan (2010), and The Genius of Japanese Carpentry (2014). He majored in fine art and architecture at Yale University, graduating in 1980. In 1985 he was named a National Foreign Scholar by the Japanese Ministry of Education, which supported his graduate studies in architecture at the University of Tokyo. He joined the Faculty of Architecture at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology in 1995. In 2003 Azby founded the KIT Future Design Institute, focussing on cognitive and cultural issues surrounding the human hand and its use in the creative process, and conducting collaborative research with neuroscientists and perceptual psychologists. His creative work has been widely exhibited at galleries and museums internationally. An amatuer rakugo performer since 2010, he is a student of Kokontei Kikuchiyo, the first professional rakugo-ka in Japan.

Since the start of Fukushima Nuclear Powerplant disaster in March 2011, Azby has been closely involved with assisting affected communities and analyzing and reporting the issues they face. He is Safecast’s lead researcher, and is primary author of the Safecast Report. A sought-after speaker on both Japanese culture and the scientific and social consequences of the Fukushima disaster, Azby is frequently quoted by major media outlets who seek a credible, critical, and independent voice.




— Born 5/26/56 in Oxnard, California; raised in New Orleans, La..
— B.F.A. (Sculpture, with special concentration in Japanese architecture and aesthetics), Yale College,1980. — M.E. (Architecture), University of Tokyo, 1988.
— P.H.D. candidate, Faculty of Engineering, University of Tokyo, 1989-1995 (withdrawn)
— Program Representative for the Asian Cultural Council, 1990-92.
— Part-time Professor, Dept. of Sculpture, Musashino Art University, 2014-present.
— Visiting Professor, Graduate School for Studies in Human Survivability, Kyoto Univ.,2016-present.
— Associate Professor, Kanazawa Institute of Technology, Architecture Design Core and Dept of Media ....Informatics, 1995-2011.
— Director, KIT Future Design Institute, Tokyo, 2003-2017
— Lead Researcher, SAFECAST, 2011-present
— United States Citizen; married; residing in Japan since 1985.
— Bilingual, fluent in Japanese.


— The Safecast Report, Vols. 1-3, 2015-2017

— Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan, Kodansha Int’l, 2009 (Japanese edition 2011; Korean edition 2018).

— The Very Small Home, Kodansha Int’l, 2005.
— The Japanese Dream House, Kodansha Int'l, , 2001.
— The Genius of Japanese Carpentry, Kodansha Int'l, 1989, second edition, 1992, third

edition 1996; revised edition 2014.
— Small Spaces, Kodansha Int'l, 1993, second edition 1996. — FDI Journal, KIT, Chief Editor, 2005-present.
— Arts Editor for Tokyo Journal, 1990-1991.
— Art critic for the Asahi Evening News, Tokyo, 1989-1990.


— Japan Ministry of Education National Scholar Grant for research in Japanese architecture, 1985-1992. — Japan Foundation Publication Grant for The Genius of Japanese Carpentry, 1989.
— Shinkenchiku Magazine Competition, third prize, 1988.
— Japan Art Scholarship Competition Award, 1991.

— Tama Life 21 Outdoor Sculpture Competition Prize, 1993.
— Japan Good Design Award, 2008.
— Hombroich Summer Fellow, Raketenstation Hombroich, Germany, 2015


— Media Advisory Board, Japan Times, 2015-2017
— Electronic Art Talent (EAT) Kanazawa, 1997-2010, Planning Committee

— Kanazawa Prefecture New Media Library Planning Committee, 2004-2006 — Renaissance Generation, 1997-1999, Planning Committee


—“Fukushima Evacuation Zone,” National Geographic Explorer TV, Jan. 15, 2019.
—"Citizen Science on the Ground: Safecast Radiation Monitoring,” NHK World, Jan. 25, 2015. —"Radiation Fallout,” ABC Catalyst (Australia), Aug. 2014
—“The Power of Privacy,” The Guardian Online, Nov 6, 2015.
—"Living Small in the Big City,” National Geographic documentary, aired worldwide, Spring 2008. — Frequent speaking engagements in Japan and abroad on art, design, culture, disaster response.

(Detailed lists provided on request)


— Psychoarchaeology of the Invisible and the Unseen, Raketenstation Hombroich, Germany, 2015.

— CREATION/RE-CREATION, Explosion Space Tokyo, March 2012.

— Parametric/Spontaneous, (director) Tokyo Future Design Institute, April 2005.
— Oneness, group show (director), Kawasaki IBM Gallery, Nov.-Dec. 1998.
— Art Today '97, group show, Saison Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa, Sept.-Nov.

— Of the Human Condition, group show, Spiral/Wacoal Art Center, Tokyo, Feb.1-20,

— Art Today '93, group show, Saison Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa, Sept.-Nov.

— Standard Discrimination Standards, w/ Kenjiro Okazaki, Kawasaki IBM Gallery, 1993 — Free Concert, solo show, Hosomi Gallery, Tokyo, Sept.-Oct., 1992.
— Dead Men Read No Books, solo show, Contemporary Arts Center, New

Orleans, La. USA, Feb-April, 1992.
— 21st Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept-Dec, 1991.
— Japan Art Scholarship Comp., group show, Spiral Garden, Tokyo, 1991.
— Network of Relations, solo show, Sagacho Exhibit Space, Tokyo, June, 1988.