“When a person in one gondola goes toward the blue sky, another one in a different gondola slowly goes down to the earth, which sucks (the experience) dry (of joy). The inventor of the Ferris wheel was a philosopher.”
– Gubijinso (The Poppy), Soseki Natsume, 1907
Meiji Industrial Exhibition, 1907
Feb. 14 is the birthday of George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., inventor of the Ferris Wheel. Here is a postcard image of the second Ferris wheel in Japan, erected in 1907 for the Meiji Industrial Exhibition held on the grounds of Ueno Park, Tokyo. (Japan’s first Ferris wheel was erected at Osaka’s Tennoji Park, in 1906, as part of a post-war celebration.) This second Japanese Ferris wheel was garlanded with strands of light bulbs that would illuminate the ride at night.
The postcards have attached to this page have a commemorative stamp dated in the Japanese fashion: 40.3.20-7.30 (March 20-July 30, 1907), “40” denoting the year of Emperor Meiji’s reign. Coming soon after Japan’s victory over Russia in the Russo-Japanese war, in 1905, the Exhibition allowed Japan to celebrate its new status as a world power and, at the same time, demonstrate the industrial advances made since the Imperial Restoration in 1868.
At the conclusion of the Exhibition, the Ferris wheel was removed and relocated to the Hanayashiki amusement park at Asakusa Park.
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