“The Golden Gate Exposition was a World’s Fair held in 1939 and 1940 on Treasure Island [San Francisco, CA]. The fair celebrated many things, including the city’s two newly built bridges – Oakland Bay Bridge (1936) and Golden Gate Bridge (1937). It ran from February 18 through October 29, 1939 and [again from] May 25 through September 29, 1940.
“The theme for this World’s Fair was ‘Pageant of the Pacific’, this was to showcase the goods of the nations bordering the Pacific Ocean. The Tower of the Sun, statue of Pacifica and the Chinese Village symbolized the fair.
“Situated in a charming garden setting, the Japan Pavilion was one of the most popular foreign exhibits. Demonstrations of filature, the art of spinning silk, were accompanied by examples of the final product in the form of kimonos and silk-upholstered mulberry wood furniture.
“Large photomurals adorning the walls of the Hall of Culture depicted modern-day Japanese life. A tea garden provided a place for rest and relaxation, while many musical concerts and performances of traditional dance provided entertainment in other portions of the pavilion.
“Amidst an exotic Japanese setting of terraced gardens, with plants and shrubbery and many varieties of trees that shade the placid lagoons, Japan Pavilion, an original combination of the architecture of a Feudal Castle and a Samurai house of the 17th Century, stands in majestic splendor as one of the finest and most interesting sights of the Golden Gate International Exposition at Treasure Island.”
– The Japan Pavilion Welcomes World Visitors, visitor’s guide, 1939
“Japan particularly, again as in 1915 [the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, also hosted in San Francisco], charms by the consistent application of a kind of beauty typical of this ancient nation since time immemorial.
“Craftsmanship and good taste, the love of the Japanese for small things, are blended here in the creation of an architectural ensemble representing the estate of a Japanese noble, and a connected shrine, racial throughout in its favor. It is the Japan of a people living in close union with Nature, listening to her voice, enchanted by her beauty, a beauty recaptured in the beauty of the buildings and the garden area enclosing a picturesque pool.
“The great wealth of natural beauty revealed here in a relatively small area is amazing, and although the effect in many ways is monumental, its intimacy and the persistent beauty of even the smallest detail reflect at every turn the age-old regard of the Japanese for skill as a means toward the creating of beautiful major and minor forms.”
– The Art of Treasure Island: First-hand Impressions of the Architecture, Sculpture, Landscape Design, Color Effects, Mural Decorations, Illumination, and Other Artistic Aspects of the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939, by Eugen Neuhaus, 1939