The last Dojunkai house of Ogikubo to be demolished

A traditional Japanese home north of Ogikubo Station will ultimately be demolished as the owner prepares to sell to a real estate developer. The single-family home and garden will be replaced with five new houses.

This residence was part of the Dojunkai Ogikubo Bunjo Jutaku, a 4.3-acre subdivision completed by the Dojunkai foundation in 1929. It sits about a 20-minute walk north of Ogikubo in an area that was once farmland. There were 45 houses in total, but 44 have been demolished over the past 90 years. When sales took place in 1929, over 8,000 people visited during the three-day event and 1,125 purchase applications were made on the 45 properties. The houses ranged in size from 59 ~ 113 sqm and the lot sizes ranged from 240 ~ 500 sqm. They had electricity, gas, and from 1932 they had city water.

Sitting on an impressive 479 sqm corner lot, the single-story home has a floor area of 99 sqm and includes a guest parlor, three tatami rooms, a maid room, kitchen, and bathroom. An extra room was added at a later stage.

The Dojunkai foundation was established in 1924 to meet a need for housing, particularly earthquake and fire-resistant dwellings, following the 1923 earthquake. Between 1925 and 1934, 16 apartment buildings were built across Tokyo and Yokohama and several housing subdivisions were also developed. Unfortunately, all of the apartment buildings have been demolished in recent years due to redevelopment. The detached homes, too, are growing increasingly scarce as owners rebuild or sell their homes to developers.

Perhaps the most famous Dojunkai building was the Aoyama Apartment which was torn down to make way for Omotesando Hills. 

The suburban housing estates are not as well known. Very few reminders are left of these estates as many of the homes have been demolished as the original owners passed on and the next generation built newer homes in their place. Less than 5% of all Dojunkai-developed houses remain. Some subdivisions have been wiped out completely. 

Source: The Tokyo Shimbun, February 12, 2022.

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