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Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2004


Preserve Kamakura's atmosphere

Kamakura, Kanagawa

Residents of Japan are used to the gradual disappearance of nation's architectural heritage, but we need not be resigned to it. The struggles of local residents last year, as reported in The Japan Times, saved the Taisho Era Yasuda House in Nezu from destruction. Now, another Taisho Era house, the Koizumi mansion in Kita-Kamakura, is under threat.

The house, built in 1925 in hybrid Euro-Japanese style, is to be demolished to make way for a large apartment block. Apart from the destruction of one more piece of historic architecture in Japan, the planned development will further chip away at the small-town atmosphere of Kamakura, accelerating its insidious transformation into one more suburb of Greater Tokyo.

Foreign residents in Japan have little power to challenge these shortsighted decisions. I hope, though, that Japanese readers might take up the issue with the relevant authorities. Kamakura is more than its temples.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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The Japan Times
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