Akita Shokai was established in 1905 by Toranosuke Akita . It was a general trading company that experienced dramatic growthally grew in the Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. The company established branch and satellite offices in 25 locations, including in Japan, Manchuria in China, Korea, and Taiwan. It built vast wealth transporting goods such as construction timber and foods. As the old company office became too cramped, the Akita Shokai Bldg. was constructed in 1915 at a main traffic point facing Shimonoseki Port. The reinforced concrete building served aswas both an office and living quarters. On the 1st floor was a large office that took up around 2/3 of the space, a reception room, a small room, and a stairway. While the office had Western-style architecture, the living quarters on the 2nd and 3rd floors used traditional Japanese domestic architecture. The unique construction is distinctive for a blend of Japanese and Western styles. What is really rare is a tea-ceremony-style like, detached room on the roof. There are trees planted around the building, and a roof garden that was created over 100 years ago. In addition, the 2nd and 3rd floor construction employs dignified traditional Japanese domestic architecture, and there is a wonderful large hall on the 3rd floor. Moreover, state-of-the-art facilities were also incorporated throughout. A look at items including a Japanese-style chandelier that can be freely raised and lowered, toilets, a colorful style in the bathrooms, and a small elevator (dumbwaiter) that can haul foods and belongings show that Toranosuke Akita liked new things. The dumbwaiter was constructed to reach up to the roof, and the company apparently often held parties on the roof while viewing the scenery. Said to be an office building with the earliest reinforced concrete construction in Japan, the construction was undertaken by the Osaka Komai Gumi. On-site supervision was conducted by Toranosuke Akita’s relative, Naokichi Shintomi , who would later work at Kanmon Shoji. It has recently come to light that the design was by Chuzaburo Nishizawa . The Japanese-style components of the building’s architecture are surmised believed to have been done by Ryusaku Goto , a carpenter working in the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe area. Chuzaburo Nishizawa was hired by the Ministry of Education as an assistant engineer (a technician working under engineers) and worked at the office that constructed Kyushu University, but was transferred to Japan's Guangdong Governor-General Office in Kwantung established in Liaodong where he worked until the Taisho era (1912–1926) before returning to Japan. The transitions in architectural design are clearly expressed in the historical buildings of Shimonoseki. Architecture in the transition period of the Taisho era (1912–1926) attempted to get away from the classical architectural style of the Meiji period (1868–1912). While the Former Akita Shokai Bldg. retains the architecture of the Meiji period, you can see elements of what was then the latest design, showing that architecture was changing. Be sure to pay attention to the changes in design while enjoying a stroll through the area.