Seinan Gakuin was founded in 1916 by American Baptist missionary C.K. Dozier. The Seinan Gakuin University Museum (Dozier Memorial Hall) is an invaluable piece of Western architecture that still remains on the campus from the time of its founding. Construction began in 1918 and was completed in 1921. It was initially used as an auditorium. It was designed by W.M. Vories, who came to Japan from the U.S. in 1905 and later became a naturalized Japanese citizen. He worked on many Western buildings throughout the country.
The symmetrical red-brick building is in the Colonial Georgian style. In addition to the beautiful exterior with its red bricks and white window frames, there are many places inside the building that evoke a sense of history, like the well-worn hallways and staircases and the Dozier Memorial Room, which displays items used by the Dozier family. Meanwhile, the auditorium, where ceremonies and worship services used to be held, remains largely intact.
The building is now open to the public as a free museum. The exhibit deals mainly with Christianity, the founding spirit of Seinan Gakuin. The permanent display features historical books and items concerning the history and origin of Judaism and Christianity as well as materials related to the history of Christianity in Japan, including the hidden Christians. There is also a special exhibition space, which is used from time to time for exhibitions, workshops and public lectures.
Nishijin is also home to another Western-style building, the No. 3 Kyushu University Nishijin Foreign Teachers’ Dormitory, which was built in 1927. It served as one of the residences for foreign teachers who taught at the former Fukuoka High School (later the Liberal Arts Department of Kyushu University). There used to be other dormitories, but due to aging, only the No. 3 building, which was in relatively good condition, was preserved and remains intact. It currently stands on the grounds of Nishijin Plaza, a research and exchange facility of Kyushu University.