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Notes on the Geography of Japan: Tokyo: Pre-War: Photo 4

world pictures Japan: Tokyo: Pre-War

Nearly all of the work done by Waters and another British architect, Josiah Conder, was destroyed either by the earthquake of 1923 or the bombing of 1945.  Here's a quasi-survivor, Tokyo Central Station, built in 1914 to a design by Tatsuno Kingo, one of Conder's students. It was commissioned by Goto Shimpei, the director of national railways, and was intended to be very impressive.  Old photographs show a building that is indeed impressive, with handsome domes instead of the post-war pyramids.  What's less noticeable is that the building faces west, toward the imperial palace, not east, toward the Ginza Bricktown.  Accident?  Unlikely.  Deferential?  Perhaps.   A real-estate hustle? Just maybe, because between the station and the palace is an area once known as Mitsubishi Meadows.  It was considered worthless but is now Tokyo's priciest real estate.

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