The Imperial Hotel was demolished in 1968, as the land under it had become too valuable for the three story structure. A part of it - the entrance and lobby building were spared however and reassembled at the Museum Meiji-mura, an open air architectural museum near Nagoya, in 1985. I visited there in 1987 and experienced the Imperial Hotel lobby first hand. I want to go back and see it again now that the surrounding vegetation has matured.
Wright first came to Japan in 1905. One of the places he stayed was the Fujiya Hotel in Hakone, where K and I stayed last August [as I recounted in the post, "Road Trip (Railroad that is)". ] I can recommend a book about his journey - Frank Lloyd Wright's Fifty Views of Japan, the 1905 Photo Album - which features his own photographs of his two month tour of Japan.
I recently found an excellent documentary on DVD - the first of its kind as it focuses solely on his work in Japan. "Magnificent Obsession - Frank Lloyd Wright's Buildings and Legacy in Japan".
It was written, produced, directed and edited by Karen Severns and Koichi Mori. The two decided to do this project after being involved in saving Wright's last surviving public building in Tokyo - Jiyu Gakuen Myonichikan - or "House of Tomorrow" (a private school that was listed as an Important Cultural Property of Japan 1997, then rebuilt, and is still in use). Through that project, they learned a lot about Wright's Japanese work and the sorry state of the documentation of it. They also realized that many of the people involved were in their twilight years, and indeed some had already passed, so there was an urgency to interview the remaining people and get their input first hand.
They spent the next several years collecting pictures, documents, and plans, and interviewing nearly a hundred architects and historians to produce this lasting tribute and important documentary of Frank Lloyd Wright in Japan and the friendships he developed which lasted for several decades and transcended a world war.
For more information visit the website: Magnificent Obsession
Profiles: Karen Severns received an MFA in Film from Columbia University, and also has an MS in Journalism. She has worked in both New York and Tokyo as a filmmaker, film critic, journalist and author. She has produced two dozen short films, including 2001 Academy Award nominee One Day Crossing.
Koichi Mori studied engineering before working throughout Asia on building management and environmental conservation projects for a leading multinational. He holds an MBA in International Management from the Garvin School of International Management (Thunderbird).