Imperial Theatre to be demolished

The Teigeki, or Imperial Theatre, in Marunouchi will temporarily close in 2025 as the building undergoes redevelopment.

The theatre is housed in the Teigeki Building, jointly owned between Toho Co. and the Idemitsu Museum of Arts. It adjoins the Kokusai Building, owned by Mitsubishi Estate, which is also part of the redevelopment project. The theatre will reopen in the new building.

The Imperial Theatre’s roots date back to 1911 when various industrialists assembled funds to open Japan’s first western-style performance hall on land owned by Mitsubishi. The original Renaissance-style building was designed by Tamisuke Yokogawa, a trailblazer in the design and construction of steel-frame buildings. The interior was completely destroyed by fire that had spread from the neighboring police department in the aftermath of the 1923 Kanto Earthquake, but the exterior walls remained intact. Yokogawa oversaw the repairs to the theatre and it reopened a year later.

The original theatre that stood from 1911 to 1965.

It was temporarily converted into a propaganda office for the Cabinet Intelligence Bureau in 1940, and in 1944 the basement dining hall was used to hand out food rations. Just months after the end of WWII, the stage was once again open for performances.

The landmark building was demolished in 1965. The current building is a work by modernist architect Yoshirō Taniguchi and was completed in 1966. Taniguchi designed the Hotel Okura Tokyo in 1962 which created an international uproar when it was demolished a few years ago.

Next year, the National Theatre of Japan, designed and built by Takenaka Corporation in 1966, will be demolished to make way for a new development. This building made DOCOMOMO Japan’s list of modern movement buildings. 


3-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

The Asahi Shimbun, September 27, 2022.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, September 27, 2022.

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