An 81-year old house in Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward will be demolished next month. A farewell open-house event was held on November 16 and 17 by a Bunkyo historical preservation society, with over 280 visitors lining up to visit the home for the last time.
The house is being demolished because the property has sold to a new buyer who is only interested in the land. The descendants of the original home-owner initially tried to find someone looking to preserve the historical home, but with no success. The house and land had been quietly listed for sale earlier this year with little publicity.
The Spanish-style home was built in 1937 for Hidenosuke Sano (1887-1955), a Doctor of Engineering and professor at the University of Tokyo. Sano spent several years studying and teaching abroad in Germany, France, China the UK and US. He was also the president of the Japan Mining Industry Association.
The two-story wooden house was designed by Sano’s close friend Toshiro Yamashita (1888-1983). Yamashita was a graduate of the University of Tokyo’s Engineering and Architectural Department in 1912. He founded his own architectural practice in 1928. His most well known works include the Kasumigaseki Building (1968), which was Japan’s first high-rise, as well as the NHK Broadcasting Center (1972).
The front of the house is Spanish-style, which was in vogue at the time, with the rear of the house in the traditional Japanese style. The home was considered very contemporary for its time with central heating and other modern comforts. It is in remarkably original condition with many of the original windows, fireplaces and interior furniture remaining.
The Tokyo Shimbun, November 17, 2018.
The Mainichi Shimbun, November 17, 2018.