Modern Architecture: Giving Form to Dreams *RERUN
When the Meiji era started, Japan advanced forward to build itself into a modern state. It was architecture that gave form to that enthusiasm. Schools, government offices and houses modeled after the West. In each one nested the dreams and ideals of the architects and the people who lived in them. Soon many architectural masterpieces with a style unique to Japan were produced. In this episode we take a look at the architectural masterpieces and the stories of those who built them throughout the Meiji, Taisho and Showa eras, and shed light on the traces of the dreams of the Japanese.

An Elementary School that Symbolized Japan's Westernization

With its cryptic design mixed with Japanese and Western influences, the "Old Kaichi School" built in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture boasted a height second only to the Matsumoto Castle. A local carpenter designed the school after making sketches of a plethora of western architecture in Tokyo. 70% of the construction costs were covered by local donations. We take a close look at the aspirations and enthusiasms of the Meiji era.

Mansion of Romance

The Futaba Goten was built in Nagoya by Kawakami Sadayakko, Japan's first international actress, after she retired. Sadayakko lived there with her lover, a married man. At the time, Sadayakko managed a silk textile company. It was very rare for women to have a profession, and to be in a free love relationship in Japan during this era, when feudal customs still remained. We take a look at the charm of the house that would give form to the spirit of the Taisho era that pursued a free way of life.

A Mining Town Theater that Embodied a Utopian Dream

The town of Kosaka in Akita Prefecture is a former mining town that once boasted the largest production volume of copper in Japan. Kuhara Fusanosuke, who became the director of the mine at the young age of 31, dreamt of building the ideal industrial city. He planned to modernize the mine, and built a general hospital, a railway, and an electrical power plant in the mine town where 8,000 laborers worked. In 1910, he completed the Korakukan, a theater with a Western-style exterior and a Japanese style interior. Since then, the theater has been loved by people for more than 100 years. A mining town that once flourished with a state-of-the-art smelting technology. Today, the town is attracting worldwide attention for a new industry of recycling rare metals from recycled materials.