Focusing on the early work and collaborations of the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, this paper researches links between the robotic culture of postwar Japan and the surge of figuration in postmodernism, challenging the commonly held view that this architectural movement emerged in the West. Specifically, the paper looks at how Isozaki's robotic creation for Expo '70 embodied the notion of theatrical mask, which characterized both postmodern ideals and early Japanese robotics, and influenced his own architectural work. Delving into Isozaki's creative exchanges with the film director Hiroshi Teshigahara and the novelist Kōbō Abe, coming into contact with each other in the 1950s, a synergy between cinema, literature, and architecture is highlighted, considering their speculations about possible technological means of reconstructing the human face in light of the symbolic dimension of this enterprise for Japan as a nation, and for architecture as a discipline.

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