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Groups in southwest Japan raising money to mark 110th anniv. of ex-bank building

The former Karatsu Bank building completed in 1912 is seen in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of the Karatsu Tourism Association)

KARATSU, Saga -- Organizations in this southwest Japan city including the local tourism association have begun a crowdfunding campaign to commemorate the 110th anniversary of a former bank building whose design was supervised by renowned architect Kingo Tatsuno (1854-1919).

    Born in the Saga Prefecture city of Karatsu, Tatsuno is known as the "father of Japanese modern architecture." He designed a number of government-sponsored projects, including the Bank of Japan and Tokyo Station buildings.

    The Karatsu Tourism Association and other groups have launched the campaign to encourage people to rediscover the appeal of the local area ahead of the 110th anniversary of former Karatsu Bank building's completion. The Western-style building whose construction was completed in 1912 is made of red bricks -- a feature typically used in Tatsuno's works. The building is the only existing structure in Karatsu that Tatsuno was involved in designing and is a symbol of the city.

    The crowdfunding campaign's target amount is 2 million yen (about $18,000), and the funds will be used to make a commemorative publication for the building's 110th anniversary and to create a large display panel at the Kingo Tatsuno memorial hall housed in the building.

    Takashi Nakamura, one of the project's originators and the president of Karatsu Cable Television Corp., commented, "We want people to rediscover the appeal of their hometown that they thought they knew, and develop affection for the city."

    Donations can be made until the end of November through the crowdfunding site at: (in Japanese). For more information, call Karatsu Cable Television Corp.'s customer center at 0955-73-5460 (also in Japanese).

    (Japanese original by Yu Yoshizumi, Kyushu News Department)

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