Style in Osaka
Here this is an essay from last semester's architecture class on the Greek and Gothic style in Osaka, Japan.
“Style in Osaka”
Since I am in Japan, a part of the Asian country, there are both old Japanese style like temple and shrine and old style housing, but in cities, there are more Western modern structures of its own style. As well as other genres of commercial art like fashion, advertising, photography, etc like all you can find in AAU, the education of architecture design is also taught of its the Western technique and history. And designers adapt their own style from the Western architecture knowledge.
It is hard to find, but there are some Greek and Gothic style building in Osaka and other parts of Japan. I think since the Gothic style is more for a church or the building that suitable with its elaborate style, Greek style is more prominent in Osaka. They were built and developed around 50 to 100 years after the style was adapted in America, because of the time of the Taisyo era during 1912 – 1926 was a boom of it called, Taisyo democracy, when people adapted Western democratic and freedom society. (Up to Meiji period, (after the Edo period), they had a class system, and they had a noble to lowest class in the society in Japan.) As well as political change, people adapted more about Western culture, so some people went to study in Europe and the US. What they learned about architecture there at the time was a Greek Revival style. Also, there is another reason that Osaka has many Greek Revival buildings from the time period was, because Osaka has been a center of merchant and trade, so I think they thought that the Greek Revival style is suitable for business buildings like banks and offices.
I will introduce two popular buildings of the Greek Revival. The first one is the Bank of Japan, Osaka Branch. The Bank of Japan is not a regular bank, but a bank to make Japanese money and to distribute in the country and overseas. It was built in 1903, planned by Kingo Tatsuno who used to study in architecture England, and also a founder of architecture major at a Tokyo University. Tatsuno learned from a British architect, Josiah Conder who had a contract with Japanese government to develop Japanese architecture, and helped to built it. Conder was named the “Father of Japanese architecture”. He used granite stone for the structure. Not all the surroundings have columns, but in front of some gate and window. On top of the columns, you can find the little triangle shape of roof as you see in the American Greek
Bank of Japan (virtual tour)
Another building of the style is Mitsui Sumitomo Bank, Osaka Cyuo Branch. Built in 1936, by Sone Nakajo architecture office. This has more like large Greek or Rome style like columns. According to the one of the blog that I am reffering, it was the last work of the office. It is a style of this bank. There are the emblems of the bank at the top of the building. (see photo) There are 3 floors and 1 basement floor with granite stone. It sure has old looking, but I feel like it is a castle wall and it seems like closed out from outside. I think that I feel narrow feeling, because of the luck of patio at the entrance that they have in American Greek Revival style.