Retro Japan: Osaka hall built with merchant's funds captivates visitors 100 years on - The Mainichi

2022-06-19 04:32:48 By : Mr. Bill ZenithMachinery

Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

The page may not be displayed properly if the JavaScript is deactivated on your browser.

OSAKA -- In this western Japan city stands a stately hall over 100 years old, which has been supported by the public over the years, from its initial funding to preservation work.

The Osaka City Central Public Hall in the city's Kita Ward, designated as a national important cultural property, is still used for events. The building, constructed with steel frames and bricks, has a total floor space of about 10,000 square meters. It was designed by renowned architect Kingo Tatsuno (1854-1919), who also worked on other landmarks in Japan including the Tokyo Station building. The public hall has large, medium and small assembly rooms, a special room and 10 conference rooms. A great amount of marble is used in many parts of the building.

Guided tour participants are enthralled as they enter the special room, where the creation of heaven and earth in Japanese mythology is depicted on the arched ceiling. Adoring the walls are mythological paintings and tapestries of Chinese phoenixes. Tender sunlight comes in through stained glass on the east side designed with motifs of Chinese phoenixes and "miotsukushi" -- an ancient Japanese term that refers to a sign placed in the shallow waters of bays -- on which the city emblem is based.

Of the total construction cost of 1.12 million yen in the early Taisho era (1912-1926), 1 million yen was donated by a merchant in Osaka. According to the facility, that amount is equivalent to 5 billion to 10 billion yen (approx. $37 million to $75 million) today. When preservation work was carried out between 1999 and 2002, too, some 700 million yen (roughly $5 million) was publicly donated.

(Japanese original by Masashi Mimura, Osaka Photo Department)

The Japanese version of this article was originally published on May 29, 2022.

This series explores Japan's architectural wonders and secrets of yesteryear. Read more Retro Japan articles here.

Copyright THE MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS. All rights reserved.