This is the former home of Sadayakko Kawakami, who made her name as Japan's first actress, and Momosuke Fukuzawa, once anointed the "king of electric power". The building was designed by Amerikaya, a residential specialist known for its revolutionary designs, and, with its use of US housing designs, managed to strike a fine balance between Japan and the West. Stretching east-to-west, the structure employs a Western style of architecture, while inside, the portion to the west of the house and to the back as you look from the entrance features Japanese-style rooms.
In 1937, Tsunezo Kawasakiya, then director of Daido Steel, bought approximately 2,140m2 of the property as well as the building. The remaining 6,500m2 or so was subdivided off. As a result, the Western-style facade of the eastern side of the house was removed and the western part of the building was expanded and renovated. Stained glass and some other original materials were recycled from the dismantled part of the structure, and the external view was retained with the use of a red-tile roof. Later, in 1959, around 560m2 of the northern end of the remaining property was sold off.
With the donation of the building to Nagoya City in 2000, the city dismantled and carefully stored the house, and then rebuilt it at 23 Shumoku-cho 3-chome, Higashi-ku. The shape of the current grounds as well as legal and functional requirements dictates that the building has some slight differences from its original form—for instance; the building has been revolved 90°. However, the original materials dismantled and stored previously have been used wherever possible to maintain the atmosphere of the time.
Details of the relocation and restoration
|Feb.2000||Building donated by Daido Life Service, Co., Ltd.|
|Feb.-March, 2000||Trace research of the original building at the time it was built; Dismantlement and preservation (dismantled parts stored in a warehouse).|
|Nov. 2000||Land leading to area designated for townscape preservation purchased for relocation.|
|Dec. 2000 –
|Preliminary and working restoration design drawings drawn up|
|March, 2003 –
|Feb.9,2005||Registered as a tangible cultural property|
approximately 80% of the structural materials, floor, ceiling, fixture materials and furnishings are the old materials disassembled and stored from the old location and reused here.
The current building has been altered slightly from the original for functional reasons. Some fixture materials and furnishings are old materials reused here.
The restoration is an approximation of the original appearance of the building based on surveys at the time of disassembly, old photographs showing the house, interviews with people that actually lived in the building and other buildings designed by Amerikaya. Some parts of the house, such as the stained glass, sofas, floors, ceilings and fitting materials are old materials reused here.