Our front door

Our front door

One of the strangest features of nearly all Japanese middle class apartments are their doors– typically metal, short and oddly un-residential to my eyes. These doors define residential living here, along with hallways that are open to the elements, and endless rows of symmetrical fluorescent hall and stairwell lighting visible from the streets.

I was reminded of this when my American artist friend who lives in Beijing and is in Japan for a 2 month artist residency told me about her strange Yokohama apartment door. She didn’t realize how typical and pervasive this door is.

What do you think it looks like? Sometimes I feel like it’s a prison, a submarine, an industrial farm. More recently, these doors seem normal and unremarkable.


  1. does it open outward? that would be another way in which it’s different from american apartment front doors, which open inward. also, the detailing looks like someone tried to make it resemble a wooden door but gave up.

  2. Super observant, J-son. Yes, the metal is molded with faux trim! Yes, the door opens outward, leaving a tiny space indoors for shoe-removal and storage. And finally, the door height, normal for Japan, is 180 centimeters (5 feet, 10 and 1/2 inches).

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