Former Ministry of Communication Shimonoseki Post Office Telephone Dept. Bldg. (Shimonoseki City Kinuyo Tanaka Bunkakan)
This building was constructed in 1924 as the Former Ministry of Communication Shimonoseki Post Office Telephone Dept. Bldg. to handle the increased need for telephones. It is a Ministry of Communication building that was the first to adopt the common-battery system telephone exchange in the Chugoku region. At the time of its construction, the method of telephone exchange was changing from manual exchange where an operator manually connected telephone lines to automatic exchange where a telephone is used to dial and connect with a caller. Among the manual exchange methods, the last method to become popularized was called the common-battery system. In 1899, Shimonoseki was the 8th nationwide to adopt it after Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, and Sakai. In addition, the Ministry of Communication at that time was moving forward with establishing offices exclusively for telephones, and the Shimonoseki office is said to have been built when the common-battery system was adopted. The building blueprint, “A Draft for a Telephone Exchange,” which was drawn for a collection in the 1921 Bunri-ha Kenchikukai (Secession School of Architects) Exhibition (2nd) is said to have been considerably incorporated into the building’s design. Features including the curved surface shape of the building’s tower roof, arches seen in places such as the 3rd-floor windows, and colonnades with fluting (vertical grooving) of 3 heights that lack decorations on top are very similar to the draft’s design. However, the features in the draft do not completely match, so it is called a “secession-type building.” The Secession School of Architects was the first modern architectural movement in Japan launched in 1920 by 6 students graduating from Tokyo Imperial University. The central figure, Mamoru Yamada later became the head of the architectural division in the Ministry of Communication. “A Draft for a Telephone Exchange” was presented the year Yamada joined the Ministry of Communication and is believed to be strongly related to works from the building and repair division in the Ministry of Communication. Furthermore, recent thought believes the secession-type elements in construction pieces of the building and repair division in the Ministry of Communication prior to the presentation of “A Draft for a Telephone Exchange” may be a design influenced by the Seczession, which was one of thea new European construction movements. Back then, this draft and strikingly similar buildings to this draft were constructed in Hyogo, Fukuoka, and Shimonoseki, but as the other buildings have been lost, this cultural property is the only one remaining today. The government office building was used as the Former Telephone Exchange Office from 1924 to 1966 and became the property of Shimonoseki City in April 1969. After the city took ownership, it was remodeled and used as a welfare center, and then remodeled again. Later, it was used as an office for the City Hall from 1976 to March 1991. Today, it is open to the public as Shimonoseki City Kinuyo Tanaka Bunkakan, which shares disseminated cultural information in Shimonoseki and honors intellectuals with ties to Shimonoseki, such as Kinuyo Tanaka.
Address：5-7 Tanaka-machi, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Hours : 9:30–17:00 *Doors close at 16:30
Closed : Mondays (or the following day when Monday falls on a national holiday)
Fee : General admission 200 yen, Elementary/jr. high school students 100 yen, Preschool children/persons aged 70 or older are free (only the 2nd-floor exhibit room)
Category: Constituent cultural properties
Genre: Story 2