MG TODAY 365

Meiji Gakuin Memorial Hall

Toson Shimazaki describes in his novel,
Sakuranomino jukusurutoki (When cherries are ripe), “a newly built, brick building on the campus consists of a classroom for the department of theology and the school library.The stairs, still giving off the smell of fresh paint, lead to the second floor where a book rack, lined with many books, stands.A librarian sits at the highest position.A small desk next to a bright window is surrounded by the book racks.Sutekichi borrowed a book he picked out and sits at the desk.”
The red brick building described in this novel is the same building as the Memorial Hall. The consecration ceremony took place on June 24, 1890 (Meiji 23).When it was first built, there was a classroom for theology, a room for the professors and a library. Many years have passed since then, and now the building is called Memorial Hall.

It is said that Professor H. M. Landis designed the building. The red brick, two-story building is roofed with tiles and was built in the neo-gothic style, a trend in the United States at that time. The gross area measures approximately 516 square meters (619 square yards).

The building was badly damaged by the earthquake of June, 1894 (Meiji 27). The second floor was reconstructed using wood. Half-timber was used for the wooden framework on the second floor, and this timber-framing is visible on its exterior wall. The unique combined structure of brick and wood has been highly acclaimed. The original steeple was reconstructed after being burned down in a fire that spread from the Sandom Pavilion in 1914 (Taisho 3). The large brick chimney was destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 (Taisho 12); it was relocated and restored much later in 1966 (Showa 41) at its current location as a result of Route 1’s (Sakurada-Dori) widening project. It was designated as a cultural property by Minato-ku (City) Tokyo-to in 1979 (Showa 54).

Currently, the building space is used as a sub chapel, a room for Gakuin ministers, a room for the department of religion downstairs, and for the Meiji Gakuin museum of historical materials, exhibit room and meeting room upstairs.The 90-year-old Mason & Hamlin reed organ still plays same nostalgic sounds as services are held during the Taisho era at this sub chapel.

  • Shirokane News, 1998 February volume: Worship Service in Taisho Era - Great Lead Organ
  • Memorial Hall's Pictures