Dentsu sells off estate including Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house

Advertising giant Dentsu Group is selling off two large estates in Tokyo and Kamakura for a combined 30 billion Yen (approx. US$271 million) to an undisclosed buyer. The Tokyo property includes one of just two surviving Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes in Japan.

The historically significant home is part of Dentsu’s Hassei-en sporting and small-scale farming grounds on the northern side of Komazawa Olympic Park in Setagaya. The house was built in 1917 for Aisaku Hayashi (1873-1951), general manager of the Imperial Hotel and Koshien Hotel, and sits on a 30,000 sqm land parcel on the edge of the former Komazawa Golf Club (now the park). 

Hayashi moved to the US in his teens to study, before working as an art dealer in Manhattan in his 20s. At the age of 35 he was made manager of the Imperial Hotel. Through his connections made in New York a decade earlier, he hired Wright to design the new hotel in 1916. It would be completed in 1923.

During Wright’s tenure in Japan, he would design six residences of which just three were built. One of them was destroyed in the 1923 Kanto Earthquake, leaving just two residences – this one in Tokyo and another in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture. The Ashiya residence recently underwent a two year restoration at a cost of 330 million Yen, and is open to the public. 

In 1950, Hayashi’s Komazawa home and grounds were sold to Dentsu and are off-limits to the general public. Unfortunately the interior was completely remodeled.

Back in January it was reported that Dentsu planned to sell their head office building in Shimbashi, Tokyo, for an estimated 300 billion Yen (approx. US$2.7 billion). In 2015, Dentsu sold their Kenzo Tange-designed Tsukiji office building to a developer. Demolition will start later this month.

Source: The Tokyo Shimbun, March 25, 2021.

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