“Jack’s Tower”, Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall, c. 1920.



1920sArchitectureCommerceGovernmentYokohama
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Main Street, Yokohama, c. 1920.

Main Street, Yokohama, c. 1920. On the right is the Port Opening Memorial Hall, colloquially known as “Jack’s Tower”.

From Japan: The Official Guide: “Construction of the Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall (in Japanaese Kenenkaikan) was finished in 1917, paid for by donations from citizens. It commemorates the 50th anniversary of opening Yokohama Port in 1867. Since then, it is one of Yokohama’s popular symbolic buildings. It has kept its shape since it was founded, and is the only building used as the current public meeting hall. The building’s interior burned in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, but it was restored in 1927.

“The entire building is an Important Cultural Property of Japan. Its exterior uses face tiles, copper plates, red bricks, etc., so we can see today a beautiful building style of modern Japan. It has stylish hallways and stairways. Its stained glass in 2 places (walls of the second floor hall and central stairway) are very valuable works in Japan’s history of stained glass.

“The hall marks the site in Yokohama where the Japan-American Friendship Treaty was signed in 1854. On the second floor, there are stained colored-glass windows. One portrays the USS Powhatan, Commodore Perry’s flagship during his return voyage in 1854, with the distinguishable flag of the Stars and Stripes.

“The hall’s famous 36 meter tall clock tower is popularly called ‘Jack’s Tower’ (a popular colloquial name for a sailor). It is called one of Yokohama’s 3 towers, along with Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building (King) and Yokoyama Customs Building (Queen). There is a legend that if you go to spots where you can see all these 3 buildings on the same day, your wish will come true.”

Kinenkaikan ("Jack's Tower"), Yokohama, c. 1917, during its construction.

Kinenkaikan (“Jack’s Tower”), Yokohama, c. 1917, during its construction.

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