This building in the picture, standing in Hibiya Park in central Tokyo, consists of two parts, the Hibiya Public Hall and Tokyo Municipal Administration Hall. It was the brainchild of Shinpei Goto, the then mayor of Tokyo, and was constructed with financial aid from Zenjiro Yasuda, the founder of the Yasuda Zaibatsu.
(The Yasuda Zaibatsu, along with the Mitsubishi Zaibatsu, Mitsui Zaibatsu and Sumitomo Zaibatsu, is one of the representative conglomerates of Japan, and Zenjiro Yasuda also donated the Yasuda Auditorium, a symbolic building of the University of Tokyo)
This building was completed in 1929, but learning from the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, more than 200 pine piles were driven into the ground to improve earthquake resistance. Due to the high groundwater level in this area, it is said that pine piles don't rot even after 100 years. Until the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan was built in Ueno in 1961, the Hibiya Public Hall was the only concert hall in Tokyo, and often held classical concerts by orchestras. After that, as the new concert halls opened in Tokyo one after another, its use as a concert hall decreased and it came to be used as a venue for lectures and various events instead. In 1960, the leader of the then largest opposition party was stabbed to death by an ultra right-wing 17-year-old boy during a public speech here. Because the murder took place in the presence of an audience, it has become an abhorrent memory for many Japanese. Currently, all of these facilities have been temporarily suspended in anticipation of large-scale renovation work.
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