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The birthplace of Okakura Tenshin (1862-1913), Yokohama's most famous writers and scholars, is indicated on a bronze relief located inside the Yokohama Port Opening Hall. Okakura Tenshin popularized Japanese philosophy and art in Europe and America through such influential works as The Book of Tea. He developed friendships with American art lover Ernest Fenellosa and several of Japan's most important artists. These connections sparked an interest in East Asian classical arts and aesthetics. He later founded the Tokyo Fine Arts School and held top positions with the Tokyo Imperial Museum and the Boston Museum. The monument celebrating Okakura's birthplace is located on the wall on the first floor of the Yokohama Port Opening Hall.
A profound museum dedicated to the past and the present of daily newspapers in Japan, Newspark was founded in October 2000 and was initiated by Nihon Shinbun Kyoiku Bunka Zaidan (The Japan Newspaper Foundation for Education & Culture). Spread across a sprawling 5000 square meters of space, occupying 3 floors of the Yokohama Media and Communications Center, the museum is divided into different sections. The history section of the museum traces back the emergence of Japanese daily newspapers in the city of Yokohama and its transition to current form. The other sections of the museum are the theater hall, the library which stores daily newspapers in digital format, NIE National Center and an exhibition center. Call or visit their website for more information.
Outside the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office on the Nihon Odori crossing is a stone monument with an electric wave pattern etched on it. This stone commemorates the first instance of successful telegraphing in Japan, which was over a distance of 2200 feet (670 meters) between the present Kanagawa District Court and the Yokohama Coast Guard Headquarters in 1869. The following year, telegraph lines were completed between Yokohama and Tokyo and a telegraph service was started. However, the lines were often cut or poles pulled down as the process was not understood and was called "black magic." This monument was erected in 1963 by the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation, along with another in Tokyo. -AH
This metallic monument resembling an early camera outside Gold's Gym on Bashamichi is a tribute to Renjo Shimo-oka, who set up a photography studio here after learning the skills of photography from Henry Heusken, a Dutchman and interpreter for the first US Ambassador to Japan. Shimo-oka photographed the SS America, which caught fire while berthed in Yokohama and experimented with night photography. Shimo-oka's first studio was in Noge. He moved to this site in 1868. -AH
The Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building, long known to Yokohama's foreign community as the "King," was built in the Meiji era and is still functioning as one of Kanagawa Prefecture's two government office buildings. The tower on the "King" resembles a five-storied pagoda, and looks particularly striking at night when spotlights bathe the building in light. The second Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building is connected by an overhead walkway.
This Presbyterian church was built in a French Gothic style in 1926 after the original red brick church on this site collapsed in the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. The theory is that the church has one tower rather than two because its design was influenced by the original Romanesque style church that stood here. It was founded by Dr. Hepburn, a medical missionary of the Presbyterian Church of America, who translated the bible into Japanese and practiced medicine in the Kanagawa province. The church was named after his church in Milton, Pennsylvania. The inside of the church was destroyed in the bombing raids and fires of World War II and has since been restored. Once in a residential area, Shiloh church is now somewhat out of place among the shops and office buildings. Services are held on Sunday mornings and evenings. -AH