David Young was born in the United States and spent his childhood in Sierra Leone, West Africa. After obtaining a B.D. in religion and anthropology  from Yale University, an M.A. in Asian studies from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University, he taught anthropology at the University of Alberta in Canada until he retired in 10900 and moved to Japan with his wife Michiko to continue his teaching career. David has conducted fieldwork in Mexico, China, Japan, and Canada, and has taught courses on Japan, anthropological aesthetics, psychological anthropology, and health and healing. Together with Michiko, he has conducted research on Japanese aesthetics for many years.

Michiko Young was born in China and raised in Japan. After graduating from Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, she married David and moved to the United States and then to Canada, where she worked for many years in the international affairs office at the University of Alberta.

The Youngs now live on the west coast of Canada. They have co-authored three books on Japanese art and aesthetics (see below).



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The Art of the Japanese Garden is the only historical overview of Japanese gardens that covers Japanese gardening culture in one beautiful book. Hard and soft cover editions, as well as Kindle, are available from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

Japanese gardens are rooted in two traditions: an indigenous prehistoric tradition in which patches of graveled forest or pebbled beach were dedicated to nature spirits, and a tradition from China and Korea that included elements such as ponds, streams, waterfalls, rock compositions and a variety of vegetation. The Art of the Japanese Garden traces the development and blending of these two traditions, as well as the inclusion of new features as gardening reached new heights of sophistication on Japanese soil.

300 full-color Japanese garden illustrations and photographs highlight notable gardens in Japan, including graveled courtyards, early aristocratic gardens, esoteric and paradise gardens, Zen gardens, warrior gardens, tea gardens and stroll gardens. Also included are sections on modern trends and Japanese gardens in other countries.

Winner of the 2006 American Horticultural Society Book Award!






The Art of Japanese Architecture provides a broad overview of traditional Japanese architecture in its historical and cultural context. Hard and soft cover editions, as well as Kindle, are available from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

. It begins with a discussion of prehistoric dwellings and concludes with a description of modern Japanese buildings. Important historical influences and trends—notably the introduction of Buddhist culture from Korea and China, the development of feudalism, and the influence of modern Western styles of building—are all discussed in detail as facets of Japanese design.

Through all of these changes, a restrained architectural tradition developed in marked contrast to an exuberant tradition characterized by monumentality and the use of bold colors. The book provides tremendous insights into the dynamic nature of Japanese architecture and how it reflects an underlying diversity within Japanese culture.

The book is profusely illustrated with over 370 color photographs, woodblock prints, maps, diagrams, and specially commissioned watercolors. A classic in the making, The Art of Japanese Architecture will be sure to enlighten and delight readers.






Spontaneity in Japanese Art and Culture is the first comprehensive analysis of Japanese art and aesthetics in their cultural context. Hard and e-book editions are available from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. The softcover edition is available from CoastalTidesPress.com

A central theme of the book is that Japanese art and aesthetics are governed by many of the same cultural rules that apply in other areas of life.

Written for a general audience, this book will also appeal to Japan specialists and to those teaching courses on Japan because of its broad approach to seeing aesthetics in its cultural context. It is also an excellent resource for travelers to Japan or anyone interested in Japanese culture.

Profusely illustrated with over 200 color photographs and is presented in an easy to read format.  

Quote from a specialist on Japanese Culture:

"The richness and complexities of Japanese art and aesthetics are presented so clearly and illustrated so beautifully in this book, the reader truly is transported to the heart of Japanese culture and given a wonderful tool by which to see the logic and connection among such different aspects of Japanese life, while also making clear the profound concepts underlying different forms of art. To make sense of diversity in a culture and to reveal the social norms that underlie it is the heart of the anthropological enterprise. This book is not only one of the clearest expositions of Japanese aesthetics; it is an anthropological triumph." 
Pamela Asquith, www.pamelaasquith.ca