“The Japanese experimented with domestic fairs early in Meiji, one of them in the Yoshiwara. The grand exhibition that called itself the First National Industrial Exhibition occurred at Ueno in 1877, from late summer to early winter. The sixth, in 1907, at Ueno once more, remains the grandest of the Tokyo series. Coming just after the Russo-Japanese War, it had patriotic significance, and therapeutic and emotional value as well. Economic depression followed the war, and a need was felt to increase consumption.
“The main buildings, Gothic, in the park proper, were built around a huge fountain, on six levels, surmounted by Bacchus and bathed in lights of red., blue, and purple. A water chute led down to the lower level, on Shinobazu Pond, where special exhibitions told of foreign lands and a growing empire.”
– Tokyo from Edo to Showa 1867-1989: The Emergence of the World’s Greatest City, Edward Seidensticker, 2011
“Several large exhibitions, such as the Second National Industrial Exhibition of 1881 and the Tokyo Industrial Exhibition of 1907, featured spectacular electric lighting and were purposefully scheduled for the cherry-blossom season.
“Thirty-five thousand light bulbs – strung in garlands, adorning a Ferris wheel, immersed in fountains, even backlighting an ‘artificial crescent moon’ – were used at this fair, approximately 4 percent of light bulbs available in Japan at the time.
“Near the main entrance to the exhibition, massive flowerpots arranged with peonies and roses were interwoven with 300 electric bulbs, and elsewhere lighting enhanced the display of a 160-meter long purple and white wisterial trellis. Bonbori paper lanterns and electric bulbs lit the natural cherry trees throughout the park, highlighting them in this fantastic showcase of the blossoming of electric light in Tokyo.
“Natsume Soseki, considered the greatest writer of the modern period, was deeply impressed by the fusion of flowers and light, and in his novel The Poppy (1907) describes the way in which electric light plays a fundamental role in the experience of the exhibition amid the torrents of falling blossoms:
‘If there is even a spark of life in you and you seek evidence of that spark, look then, at the illumination – one cannot but be astounded by it. Those paralyzed by civilization have only to be astounded thus, to realize that they are indeed alive.'”
– Cities of Light: Two Centuries of Urban Illumination, edited by Sandy Isenstadt, Margaret Maile Petty & Dietrich Neumann, 2014
“The exhibition was opened to the general public at 2 o’clock, and will be open every-day till July 31 from 7 a.m. till 6 p.m. The price of admission tickets will be 10-sen on week-days and 15-sen on Sundays and national holidays; tickets for children between 6 and 12 years of age being sold at 5-sen on week-days and at 10-sen on Sundays and national holidays.
“It is understood that the plans as laid out for the Tokyo Industrial Exhibition are on a larger scale than were those of the national exhibition held at Osaka in 1903. The remarkable development of the country in commerce and industry after a victorious period of warfare will be, I believe, fully displayed in the exhibition.
“… The exhibition is situated in Uyeno park and grouped around Shinobazu pond. The grounds are divided into three compounds.
“The first compound is located in front of the Imperial Museum (Takeno-dai) and extends over Cherry Hill (Sakuraga-oka). This covers the main part of Uyeno park. The second compound comprises the whole of the ground surrounding Shinobazu pond, the northern part being divided from the southern part by two gates, the latter part being given up to various small shops where are to be found various small articles for sale. The third compound is in front of the Imperial Library.”
– The Tokyo Industrial Exhibition, by Charles A. Francis, American Machinist, June 13, 1907