East Meets West: Lake Biwa Canal, Kyoto, Japan

Louis van Gasteren, a Dutch film director who founded Artec Foundation aiming to bring artists and scientists closer together, researched and rewrote a narrative on the engineering history of Japan, including the project of Lake Biwa Canal. Through the lens of Western engineers, he highlighted how Western engineering skills had inspired Japanese in the Meiji period which led to the major advancement in Japan’s waterworks and infrastructure.

As a westerner, van Gasteren looked into Japan’s endless curiosity during the late 19th and 20th century in picking up unfamiliar skills and acquiring foreign engineering and building knowledge, as well as suggested how people from different parties cooperated throughout the construction to accomplish such a memorable achievement.


Van Gasteren, Louis. 2001. “East Meets West: Lake Biwa Canal, Kyoto, Japan”, Terra et Aqua, International Journal on Public Works, Ports & Waterways Developments, no. 84 (September): 3-7.

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