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Learn about Literature in a Meiji Era Western Building

Located at the far end of Tenjin on Showa-dori Ave, the Akarenga Cultural Center is a western style red brick building with granite embellishments and a copper roof. Built in 1909 to house the Kyushu branch of the Nippon Life Insurance Company, this historic structure has since been designated by the national government as an Important Cultural Property. The building, which previously served as a history museum, was reborn as the Akarenga Cultural Center in 1994 after the Fukuoka City Museum opened.

If the Akarenga Cultural Center reminds you of Tokyo Station, that is because both buildings were designed by the famous Meiji Era architect Kingo Tatsuno. Both buildings employ the same contrasting red brick and granite exteriors topped with copper-shingled domes and spires, a style of construction that was popular in Great Britain in the late 19th century.

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Tatsuno was born in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, and graduated tops in his class from the Imperial College of Engineering (which later became the University of Tokyo Faculty of Engineering). After studying in Great Britain, he returned to Japan where he became one of the country’s most prominent architects. The Akarenga Cultural Center was designed by a firm that Tatsuno had established with fellow architect Yasushi Kataoka, and it was completed a full five years before Tokyo Station.

While the exterior is indeed impressive, the exquisite interior, with its Art Nouveau-inspired light fixtures and ornamentation, can’t be missed. Nowadays citizens can used the Akarenga Cultural Center for meetings and other gatherings, and the first floor is home to the Fukuoka City Literature Hall. The hall features works and manuscripts penned by local authors and plays host to a wide array of literature-themed events. One such event, the Akarenga Night Talks, are guest lectures on literature held once every two months.

If you’d like to learn about literature in a unique Meiji Era western building, why not sign up for the next event?

Art & Culture
Fukuoka City
Published: Feb 26, 2015 / Last Updated: May 30, 2019

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