Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of Yokohama Port, 1909.

1900sHistoric EventsYokohama
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“Yokohama in 1909”. Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of Yokohama Port, 1909, issued by the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce. Inset photo: A view of the port from the Bluff.

See also:
“Jack’s Tower”, Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall, c. 1920.
Yokohama Bluff, c. 1910.
Grand Hotel, Yokohama, c. 1910.
Sakuragicho (Yokohama) Station, c. 1910.
Yokohama Port centennial parade, 1958.

“The first official function — the laying of the foundation stone of the Jubilee Memorial Hall — took place shortly after 10 a.m., on July 1, to the accompaniment of a full Shinto ritual, in the presence of the Mayor, the members of the Committee, and a few guests. On the conclusion of the religious ceremony, the Committee repaired to [Sakuragicho] station to meet the guests from Tokyo.

“It was a few minutes after 2:30 when the Mayor, Mr. N. Mitsuhashi, accompanied by the principal speakers, by representatives of the Diplomatic and Consular services and by a few of the guests, took his seat on the platform erected in the central portion of one of the huge Pavilions of the Customs Compound. The proceedings opened with the playing of the National Hymn by the massed bands, and the singing of the Municipal Song by some 200 children who had been drawn up on either side of the open space fronting the platform. The Mayor then delivered the opening speech, which was as follows:

“Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a great honour to our gathering to-day that guests, both foreign and Japanese, attend the Jubilee Celebration of the Yokohama Port Opening.

“It is fifty years since this port was opened as a trading post with foreign countries, when Yokohama was only a thinly-populated fishing-village on the Eastern waters, where reeds and grasses grew thick. The state of things rapidly changed and, every facility being afforded, a large number of people were attracted to the port from the inland districts, as well as from distant foreign countries … Month by month and year by year, improvements have been adopted, until now the number of houses is about 70,000 and the population close upon 400,000.

“In the meantime, the harbour accommodation has been enlarged, and the number of ships entering and leaving the harbour has steadily increased [making] Yokohama one of the most important ports in the Far East. Considering that it is only half a century since the port was opened, the rapid progress it has made may well strike the world with astonishment. When we look back, the event we are commemorating today seems to belong to another age.

“… In commemoration of the fiftieth year of the opening of the port, we propose to erect the Yokohama Kwaikwan, or Memorial Hall, in which to hold public gatherings, and the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of that building has just been performed. Henceforth we must devote our energies to the development of Yokohama, continuing to devise new plans and enterprises, and to adopt measures for promoting the prosperity of the town.

“The celebration of this brilliant Memorial Day, which is honoured with the attendance of your Excellencies and Gentlemen, is not only an honour to the town, but will also, we believe, assist, to no small degree, the progress of the Empire. — (Applause).”
Japan Weekly Mail, July 10, 1909

“In commemoration of (the) opening of Yokohama”, 50th anniversary commemorative postcard, 1909. Inset images clockwise from lower-left: Customs Pier, 1909; Yokohama Customs House, 1909; Yokohama Customs House before 1868; Local government office of Kanagawa before 1868; Kanagawa Prefectural Office, 1909; Customs Pier before 1868.