田村 明 (Akira TAMURA)

Profile of Professor Akira Tamura – Yokohama City Planner

Chihiro TAMURA

President, Akira Tamura Memorial-A Town Planning Research Initiative NPO,

Ph.D. in Chemistry


This essay is a profile of Prof. Akira Tamura (1926-2010), one of the great city planners of post-war Japan, and a brief study of his accomplishments in Yokohama.


The meaning of the term ‘city planner’ is somewhat vague, but in post-war Japan it primarily described officers of the central government. Because the City Planning Act 1919 was not amended as part of the post-war legislative overhaul, the power of the central government remained very strong. This centralised system was well-suited to post-war reconstruction, but did not assist in addressing questions of urban planning which arose with the rapid economic growth from the 1960s onwards.


With the expansion of the Greater Tokyo Area, the population of Yokohama grew rapidly, and its land use was disorganised. The pollution and the lack of infrastructure reached a critical point. Ichio Asukata, elected in 1963 as the new socialist mayor, had to solve these issues. He devised a citizen-centric plan for Yokohama, then approached the planning office at which Tamura was working for assistance.


Tamura had studied at the architectural department at Tokyo University and majored in city planning. After graduation he first worked for the central government, but soon quit due to feeling uneasy about the elitism and sectionalism of the national bureaucracy. Having decided to pursue a career as a city planner as his vocation, Tamura studied in the Law Faculty of Tokyo University to learn a more comprehensive approach to city planning.


Tamura proposed to Asukata a new concept for Yokohama as “Japan’s ‘international management centre’”, rather than a mere satellite to Tokyo. In order to realise the concept, he recommended that six projects be implemented: the redevelopment of the urban central area, the reclamation in the Kanazawa seaside area, the building of the Kohoku New Town, a municipal subway system, highways and the Yokohama Bay Bridge. According to him, the completion of the six projects would be very costly, but would succeed if Yokohama sought the involvement of both the central government and private developers in the projects.


Tamura was invited to work at the city government and worked in the taskforce under the direction of the mayor. He became the chief planner of city administration; not only striving to realise the six projects, but also introducing guidance to control the development and management of ‘urban design’.

As Asukata left the city in 1979, Tamura worked for Yokohama for about a decade. However, his planning vision was inherited by the officers who had been educated by him. Moreover, Tamura’s accomplishments have encouraged many planners and officers in other local governments.


After he wrote his Ph.D. thesis on the local development exaction system, Tamura left Yokohama, and lectured on urban policy as a professor. He also authored twenty books and lectured to enlighten the public on city planning issues. 


In short Tamura was a leader and pioneer in the field of city planning as an officer of local government, whose achievements are comparable to Daniel Burnham in Chicago in the late nineteenth century.

みなとみらい地区のドックガーデンに座る田村明 Akira Tamura sitting in the Dock Garden of Minatomirai 21
みなとみらい地区のドックガーデンに座る田村明 Akira Tamura sitting in the Dock Garden of Minatomirai 21

田村明 経歴

大正15(1926)年7月25日 父田村幸太郎と母忠子の三男として東京に生まれる。四人兄弟である。なお同年12月より昭和元年となる。

昭和6(1931)年4月 青山師範付属小学校入学

昭和19(1944)年3月 旧制東京府立第一中学校第四学年修了

昭和19(1944)年4月 旧制静岡高等学校理科甲類入学

昭和22(1947)年2月 仮卒業で静岡を去る  

昭和22(1947)年4月 旧制東京大学工学部建築学科入学

昭和25(1950)年3月 卒業 東大建築学科卒業論文『大都市地域構造の変動に関する研究』指導を丹下健三助教授から受ける。

昭和25(1950)年4月 旧制東京大学法学部法律学科入学

昭和25(1950)年5月 運輸省大臣官房観光部計画課運輸省技官(六級一号)任命、同時に事務官(六級一号)任命

昭和26(1951)年9月 運輸省を依願免官

昭和29(1954)年3月 東京大学法学部卒業

昭和29(1954)年4月 日本生命保険相互会社に入社し本店不動産課に配属

昭和35(1960)年 33歳で斎藤眞生子と無教会式で結婚

昭和38(1963)年1月 浅田孝が社長を務める㈱環境開発センターに計画部長として参画、田村明36歳。

昭和39(1964)年 飛鳥田一雄横浜市長の要請により、横浜の都市将来構想として「六大事業」を提案

昭和43(1968)年 飛鳥田市長の要請により横浜市入庁、田村のために新設された企画調整室の企画調整部長に就任。その後、企画調整室長を経て企画調整局長となり、また技監も兼務する

昭和53(1978)年 「横浜市における都市計画活動-都市空間創造への総合的実践」で日本建築学会業績部門学会賞を横浜市企画調整局として受賞、細郷道一市長に企画調整局長の職を解かれ技監のみとなる、東京大学工学部講師・早稲田大学理工学部客員教授に就任

昭和55(1980)年 田村明を囲む横浜市職員の若手勉強会「横浜まちづくり研究会」発足、東京大学より「宅地開発における開発指導要綱の成立過程とその基礎的都市環境整備への効果に関する総合的研究」で博士号を授与される

昭和56(1981)年 横浜市退職し法政大学法学部教授に就任、早稲田大学客員教授も兼任

昭和58(1983)年 横浜市での理論と実践を語る中公新書「都市ヨコハマをつくる」を出版

昭和61(1986)年 自治体職員が自主的に学ぶ「自治体学会」設立に参加、代表運営委員となる

平成8(1996)年 法政大学を退職

平成12(2000)年 「都市づくりの理論及び手法の構築とその実践」で都市づくりの実務家として初の日本建築学会大賞を個人として受賞

平成14(2002)年 田村明を囲む市民による自主勉強会「現代まちづくり塾」設立

平成18(2006)年 「都市プランナー田村明の闘い」学芸出版社を出版、「『市民の政府』論-『都市の時代』の自治体学」生活社を出版


平成22(2010)年1月25日 伊豆熱川の別荘で眞生子夫人に見守られて逝去。

Career of Akira Tamura

Makiko and Akira Tamura after their marriage
Makiko and Akira Tamura after their marriage

25 July 1926: Born in Tokyo, third son of father Kotaro Tamura and mother Tadako. He has three siblings.


April 1931: Entered Aoyama Teacher Training College’s Affiliated Elementary School.


March 1944: Completed the fourth grade at the Tokyo Prefectural First Junior High School.


April 1944: Entered the first class of science at the Shizuoka High School.


February 1947: Left Shizuoka on provisional graduation.  


April 1947: Entered the Department of Architecture, the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Tokyo.


Mar 1950: Graduated with a graduation thesis, 'Research on changes in the regional structure of large cities', from the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo, under the guidance of Associate Professor Kenzo Tange.


April 1950: Entered the Department of Law, Faculty of Law, the University of Tokyo.


May 1950: Appointed as an official in the Planning Division, Tourism Department, Minister's Secretariat of the Ministry of Transport.


September 1951: Resigned from the Ministry of Transport on request.


March 1954: Graduated from the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law.


April 1954: Joined Nippon Life Insurance Company and assigned to the Real Estate Division of the Head Office


1960: Married at the age of 33 to Makiko Saito in a non-denominational ceremony.


January 1963: Joined Environmental Development Centre Co Ltd, of which Takashi Asada was president, as head of the planning department; Akira Tamura aged 36.


1964: At the request of Yokohama Mayor Ichio Asukata, he proposed the "Six Major Projects" as a vision for Yokohama's future framework.


1968: Joined the City of Yokohama at the request of Mayor Asukata and became Director of the Planning Coordination Department of the Planning & Coordination Office, which was newly established for Tamura. Later became Director of the Planning and Coordination Bureau, and then also served as Technical Superintendent.


1978: Awarded the AIJ Prize for Achievement by the Architectural Institute of Japan for "Urban Planning Activities in Yokohama - Comprehensive Practice for the Creation of Urban Space" as the Planning and Coordination Bureau of the City of Yokohama.

Appointed lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Tokyo and visiting professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University


1980: Inaugurated the Yokohama City Planning Study Group, a study group of young Yokohama City officials around Akira Tamura,

Awarded a doctorate from the University of Tokyo for a "Comprehensive study on the process of establishing development guidelines for residential land development and their effects on basic urban environmental improvement".


1981: Retired from the City of Yokohama and became a professor at the Faculty of Law, Hosei University, and also a visiting professor at Waseda University.


1983: Published Chuko Shinsho's "Yokohama: Making of A City", which discusses the theory and practice of the City of Yokohama.


1986: Participated in the establishment of the "Local Administration Association" for voluntary study by local government officials, scholars and citizens, and became a representative member of the steering committee.


1996: Retired from Hosei University.


2000: Awarded the Architectural Institute of Japan Grand Prize as the first individual practitioner of urban planning for "The construction of theories and methods of urban planning and their practice".


2002: Established the "Modern Machizukuri Society", an independent study group of citizens surrounding Akira Tamura.


2006: Published "The Struggle of Akira Tamura, Urban Planner" (Gakugei Shuppansha) and "'Citizen's Government' Theory - Local Government Studies in the 'Age of the City'" (Seikatsu-sha).


25 January 2010: Passed away at his villa in Izu-Atakawa watched over by his wife Makiko.

横浜市時代の田村明 Akira Tamura as of years of the Yokohama City Government
横浜市時代の田村明 Akira Tamura as of years of the Yokohama City Government
Profile of Akira Tamura in English as being submitted to the International Planning History Society Yokohama Conference 2018
Profile of Akira Tamura as IPHS paper.pd
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田村明年表(詳細版)を掲載します Timeline of Akira Tamura (detailed version) Japanese/English
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『Dear Mr. Akira Tamura・田村明の肖像』「田村明さんを偲び、お別れする会」実行委員会編
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田村忠子絵葉書 Postcards drawn by Akira Tamura's mother Tadako
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