Yale University: Asakawa Garden

New Haven, CT

As a landscape architectural firm rooted in Japanese design, we were honored to create a garden dedicated to Professor Kan’ichi Asakawa. His spirit is remembered with each leaf, his legacy with each stone.

Yale University hired ZEN Associates to design and build a courtyard garden commemorating Kan’ichi Asakawa, the first Japanese citizen to be named a professor at Yale. Asakawa dedicated his life to promoting international peace and amicable relations between Japan and the United States during the early 20th century.

Asakawa’s spirit and personality are reflected in the garden’s design – powerful boulder arrangement express his virile Samurai legacy, while the juxtaposition of naturalistic composition and bold paving pattern echo his historic role as mediator between two disparate nations.

The garden occupies the quiet corner of a courtyard, surrounded by Neogothic buildings and the activities of an ever-vibrant campus. The artistic combination of stone, planting, water basin and Japanese lantern encourage rest, peace and reflection.

Says Shin Abe: “Our hope with this design is for people to sit quietly and enjoy the harmonic balance between Yale’s architectural symmetry and the Japanese garden’s asymmetry.

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