The House of Freedom

A few years back, a haikyoist friend shared this location with me. He simply told me I should visit this haikyo when I have the chance. He added that this was a popular haikyo in the 90’s and he visited it at the time, without a camera. I then looked for information and photos about it but there was nothing I could find. I made a mistake at this time to decide that it might not be an amazing place. I kept it on a map but never checked it out.

Almost three years later, I found myself in front of a house, with another explorer in Koga City, Ibaraki Prefecture, not so far from Tokyo. As I was stunned by the majestuous appearance of this place, I also realized that it was the place my friend told me about before. And I learned a lesson: to never avoid checking out a place because of the lack of photos or information about it.

The House of Freedom (昭和初期の洋館H邸) was massive and looked like a big block of concrete with little chimneys. It was surrounded by it is own little jungle. We had to jump over a slightly annoying metal fence to get into the property, then find ourselves a path through the trees to get to the entrance.

The place was grand. Once passed the Meiji-era entrance made of concrete it then looked more like a mixture of Edo and Western. Upstairs, a set of windows shed impressive lights on the floor. The design and architecture of this place was carefully made. There was even a swimming-pool on its roof to make sure nothing was missing.

When it was built, in 1928, this area of Ibaraki was mainly rice fields and there wasn’t any house like this one. Hachiro Hatsumi, a wealthy politician born in this city, built this house in 1928, two years before its death. It was supposed to be used for meetings of the Freedom and People’s Rights Movement but it is difficult to know how it ended-up being used.

There are many signs of family life and it seemed the house was inhabited until 1972. It must have been his own family since there is a photo of a member of the Hatsumi family in the dining room.

I went back to this place a few years later only to discover that it had been wiped out and replaced by solar panels. Hopefully this is for the best, but my heart is saddened.

The house has been dismantled in May 2013.

HIGHLIGHTS

– Massive concrete building
– Chimneys, fireplace (rare in Japan)
– The room with sofas and paintings

FACTS

  • 1928 – 1945

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