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Understanding Changes in Church Architecture

Tetsukawa Yosuke, a key figure in many instances of religious architecture, took on the challenges of building new kinds of churches while overcoming various obstacles involved in the process.

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Oso Church Oso Church
Oso Church

Tetuskawa Yosuke was born in the Maruo district of the Kamigoto islands. From the Meiji era onwards, he built over fifty churches all around Japan, many of them in the Goto islands, where he was born and raised. Starting with the wooden church of Hiyamizu, he went on to build churches including Dozaki church, Nokubi church, Kusuhara church, Oso church, Aosagaura church, Egami church and Kashiragashima church. Tetsukawa’s construction materials shifted from wood to brick, and then evolved into combinations with Goto stones. An interesting facet of his building style is the differences in air vents. In contrast with Aosagaura church, whose vents are extremely narrow, the vents in both Oso church and Kashiragashima church are large holes about 50cm wide. This is considered to be a means of overcoming the problem of the wooden floors rotting in the absence of adequate ventilation. Moreover, the boss decorations used in Tetsukawa’s rib vault ceilings gradually shifted from a realistic style in his earlier churches to simple, geometric patterns in his later ones. The evolutionary progress of Tetsukawa Yosuke’s architecture can thus be traced through the churches of these islands, and constitutes yet another point of attraction.