A high-domed, Western style building stands in the precincts of the Tokyo National Museum. Completed in 1908, it is called the Hyokeikan, the Building which Expresses Joy, and was constructed to celebrate the crown prince’s wedding. It was designed as Japan’s first dedicated art museum by one of Japan’s first architects. Japan was adopting the cultures and systems of the West in the cause of modernisation during the latter half of the nineteenth century and needed experts to design Western-style buildings. Josiah Conder, an architect invited from Britain, taught the history and structures of Western architecture to Japanese students. His very first class of graduates included Tohkuma Katayama, the man who became court architect and designed the Hyokeikan. This is the story of pioneers at the dawn of Western-style architecture in Japan.