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Nijusseiki Yokujou (20 century public bath)

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Nijusseiki Yokujou

(20 century public bath)


        There are not many Art Deco style buildings that I found in Japan. Maybe there are, but I just don’t know which one. One of the Art Deco that I found in wikipedia and I thought that is interesting to me is Nijusseiki Yokujou in Tokyo.
        The concept sento, public bath was started in 1591, which people around the same nationhood take a bath together and communicate each other. (men and women take separately) At old time, not many people have their own bathroom in their home, so they go to take commercial bath in a reasonable price. In the modern era, it cost as cheap as $2-3. Ever since after the WWII, when Japanese society became more modernized, people tend to have their own bath at their home or apartment, so there are not much need of this kind of the public bath. Besides, Japanese Hot Spring Resort, and commercial spa are still popular, especially during the cold winter time, but they are more expensive.
        The Nijusseiki Yokujou is an old style public bath built in 1929. (There is no information who built.) Like some of you might have seen from the Japanese Hayao Miyazaki anime, “Spirited Away”, Japanese public bath from the same period was build commonly more Japanese hotel-like style with a tiled roof. Around 1920th, they tended to build more elaborated bathhouse, but in Japanese style. Unusually, this Nijusseiki Yokujou bathhouse was built with Western style Art Deco style. As seen in the photos, there are long arched windows, round windows. Tiling that are used for outside wall is called, “Scratch tiling,” Literally, it is tiling that has a lot of scratched pattern. There is repetitive patterned motif on the outside wall and on top of motife, the wall is covered with Spanish tile, not Japanese tile to match with the Deco style building. Even the chimney that always attached with a public building looks as one of the ornament of the Streamline style. I think the naming, “20th century” also means, the forefront, like new fashioned public bath at the time.
        Interior of the bathhouse, there are bathrooms with bathtub with 23 tabs for water and hot water. The bathrooms are covered with checker designed tiles on the floor. It is just a regular bathhouse like any other ones, but there are curved geometric European designed lightings on the wall by the bathtub.
        I think it makes sense with Art Deco bathhouse, because they used to heat up water with charcoal at old public bathhouse. Charcoal could imply of the modern technology like a steam engine. Sadly, this Nijusseki Yokujou was closed and demolished just on 2007, 12, 31.



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