Manseibashi Station, Tokyo (1912-1936).

1910sArchitectureNotable LandmarkTransportation
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Manseibashi Station, c. 1915.

Manseibashi Station, c. 1915, the grand terminus (1912-1919) of the Chuo Line, with the bronze monument honoring Russo-Japanese War hero Commander Hirose sited on its plaza.

See also:
Shimbashi Station (Shiodome), 1872-1910
Shimbashi Station (Kasumori), c. 1910-1923
Ueno Station, c. 1910
Tokyo Central Station, 1914-1940
Yorozuyobashi (Manseibashi) Bridge, Tokyo, c. 1910
The Funeral of Commander Hirose, Tokyo, 1904.

“The region bounded by the Imperial Palace on the W.; the Sumida River on the E.; Shimbashi Station at the S,; and Manseibashi on the N is the busiest, the most densely populated, the wealthiest, and the most progressive of the metropolis.

“The new Manseibashi terminus of the Central Rly [Chuuo-sen], which comes to this point through Kanda and other wards, [is] in the Renaissance style, contains 2 million bricks, 20,000 granite blocks, 180 tons of steel, and considerable marble and bronze, and was completed after designs by Prof. Tatsuno in 1912 at a cost of ¥300,000.

“The Bronze Monument facing it is one of the finest in Tokyo and was unveiled in May 1910. (The bronze statues are after the design of Prof. Takamura Koun, of the Academy of Fine Arts.) The life size figure surmounting the shaft is that of the brave Commander Hirose who nobly sacrificed his life in a vain effort to rescue a non-commisioned officer during the memorable marine night on Port Arthur during the Russian War.

“A short walk up at the left of the station through a region of inns and curio shops brings one to Surugadai and the Russian Cathedral, perhaps the oldest of the metropolitan churches.”

Terry’s Japanese Empire, T. Philip Terry, 1914

Map: Tokyo Rail Terminals & landmarks, 1912.

Manseibashi Station was the eastern terminus of the Chuo-sen [middle railway line] from 1912-1919.

In 1889, plans for a railway running west from Tokyo, along a route roughly following the feudal Nakasendo [central mountain road] post road to Kyoto via Matsumoto, were first realized. With the formation of the privately-owned Kobu-Tetsudo-sen, the first section of track was laid between Shinjuku and Tachikawa. In 1895, service was extended within Tokyo east from Shinjuku to Iidamachi (now Itamachi) to Shinjuku, with service further extended to the east to Ochanomizu in 1904.

After long-distance railways were nationalized in 1906, the Kobu-Testsudo was renamed the Chuo-sen by the government which also planned and built a new Chuo-sen terminus east of Ochanomizu at Manseibashi [ten-thousand generation bridge] thaat opened April 1, 1912. The station terminal was designed by Tatsuno Kingo in the grand European rail tradition, and was similar in appearance (but larger) to the Shimbashi terminal at Kasumori. Tatsuno would also oversee the design and construction of the even-grander brand new Tokyo Central Station. Manseibashi would remain the eastern terminal of the Chuo Line for seven years, until through-service was completed onward to Tokyo Central in 1919.

Manseibashi Station at Sudacho, Tokyo, c. 1930. After its closing in 1936, the building was be re-purposed as the Tokyo Railway Museum before being torn down in 1943. (The transportation museum on the site from 1946-2006 was built on the foundation of the old station.)

On the station plaza, fronting the Kanda Sudacho district, was a statue of Russo-Japanese War naval hero Commander Hirose Takeo. The statue remembers his sacrifice during the Battle of Port Lushun in 1905 when Hirose’s warrant officer was setting charges scuttling a ship to seal off the harbor to entrap Imperial Russian navy. A Russian torpedo struck the ship.

Hirose surged from his launch, grasping his sword and, with complete disregard for his own safety, made a vain and fatal attempt to rescue his subordinate from the burning vessel. Hirose was deified in statue and song as Japan’s first modern Gun-shin [war god] and became a model henceforth for the all Imperial Navy officers and sailors of noble self-sacrifice.

Manseibashi Station, c. 1915.

The statue of war hero Commander Hirose Takeo outside Manseibashi Station, c. 1915.

Manseibashi Station, as with Shimbashi Station, was eventually rendered redundant with the opening of the new central terminal at Tokyo Station and the completion of Chuo Line thru-service there in the early 1920. And, as with Shimbashi Station, after being leveled by the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, Manseibashi Station was not rebuilt to its former and impressive red brick splendor. A much more modest station replaced the terminal facilities. In 1936, the station was permanently closed and the structure repurposed into the Tokyo Transportation Museum (1936-2006).

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