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11-12-2017, 08:26 AM - 11 Likes   #1
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Pentax mosaics on old HQ building

I recently read a Japanese blog post about mosaics on the former Pentax HQ building and was curious about it. This year Iíve bought a DAL 55-300 and a DA15 mm, but hardly had a chance to get out and use them. Finally, I had a weekend with a bit of free time and some nice weather, so I went out of do the tourist thing in Tokyo.

The old Pentax HQ is in a part of Tokyo called Nagatacho, which is the political centre of Japan. Itís right between the parliament building and the Imperial Palace. Itís not an area youíd normally go to, because there is little to do at street level. Also itís full of police - understandable, but not very welcoming. According to the information I read, the Pentax building was built in 1965. It is basically a standard Tokyo office block of that era, with the exception of the decorative mosiaics. I approached from the side, which is the facade with a mosaic going up the whole height of the building.



The mosaic was created by an artist called Takeo Terada, and it uses lens elements as a motif. The artist, who was Japanese but spent much of his youth in California, seems to have done similar public art elsewhere, but the Pentax building is the most prominent. This image is from the front. Both of these were with the HD DA 15mm Ltd.



I walked away to get a view of the building from a distance. From this view you can see the old Asahi Pentax logo on the top. This one was taken with the DAL 55-300. Iíve got really lucky with this used lens. Itís a really sharp copy.



And a crop of a longer shot.



Iím not sure when Pentax vacated this building, but it is now an office of one Japanís opposition political parties (I edited to correct this, it's not the LDP as I said at first). Thatís why there is a group of police officers stationed at the entrance. Ultimately, itís just an office building, but Iím quite glad I saw it because buildings of that age are often pulled down for redevelopment, so I guess it won't be there forever. Here are a few more pictures I took with the 15mm as I continued my walk.

An entrance to the imperial Palace, with the moat and Tokyo Station area in the background. I'm still getting used to the compositional challenge of what to do with the foreground of the image for pictures like this.



Drinking establishments under the railway tracks at Yurakucho. I think the 15mm is going to be useful for this kind of shot.



The restored entrance hall to Tokyo Station. Iíve taken a similar shot with the fisheye zoom, but I think rectilinear is better for this.



I wasn't sure where to place this, so if it is the wrong subforum for the thread please move it accordingly.


Last edited by JPT; 11-12-2017 at 08:41 AM.
11-12-2017, 08:34 AM   #2
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What a great bit of history and interesting photos. Thanks for sharing.
11-12-2017, 10:04 AM   #3
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I really like the crop shot of the old logo and it is great to have your photos to put history in perspective - great murals too (hope they survive) Thanks for sharing
11-12-2017, 12:50 PM   #4
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Just a fun thing for you to notice.... in your under tracks drinking spot shot, the milk/beer crates that make up the table legs say Asahi.

11-12-2017, 04:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for a great story!
11-14-2017, 03:27 PM   #6
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Cool. Thanks for sharing some interesting history!
12-24-2018, 01:09 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
I recently read a Japanese blog post about mosaics on the former Pentax HQ building and was curious about it.


The old Pentax HQ is in a part of Tokyo called Nagatacho, which is the political centre of Japan. Itís right between the parliament building and the Imperial Palace. Itís not an area youíd normally go to, because there is little to do at street level. Also itís full of police - understandable, but not very welcoming. According to the information I read, the Pentax building was built in 1965. It is basically a standard Tokyo office block of that era, with the exception of the decorative mosiaics. I approached from the side, which is the facade with a mosaic going up the whole height of the building.


The mosaic was created by an artist called Takeo Terada, and it uses lens elements as a motif. The artist, who was Japanese but spent much of his youth in California, seems to have done similar public art elsewhere, but the Pentax building is the most prominent.Iím not sure when Pentax vacated this building, but it is now an office of one Japanís opposition political parties.
In which blog did you find the mosaics?
What's the adress of the building?
12-24-2018, 02:23 PM   #8
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Very cool, thanks for posting.

QuoteOriginally posted by JPT Quote
the Pentax building was built in 1965.
Back when Pentax was king.

12-24-2018, 03:43 PM   #9
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Does Japan have laws to protect something like this? As art, as history?
12-25-2018, 04:24 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by angerdan Quote
In which blog did you find the mosaics?
What's the adress of the building?
The address is here: 〒100-0014 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Nagatachō, 1 Chome−11−1, Miyakezaka Building
I'm not sure how links to Google Maps work, but here is a try:
Google Maps

As I said, this is now the office of a political party, so even if you went, you'd just be looking from the outside, and I don't know how long the police there would allow you to loiter before asking questions. I suppose you could combine it with a trip to the JCII Camera Museum, which is not far away.
Google Maps

QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
Does Japan have laws to protect something like this? As art, as history?
I'm not sure about this, but if there are preservation laws in Japan, I doubt they would cover a 1960s office building like this, mosaics or none. Typically you would expect a building of this age to be demolished at any moment to make way for a bigger office development. Occasionally they preserve elements of the existing building in the new design, but it's usually for Meiji Era buildings. Having said that there isn't much development in that area. The transport connections are not great, and my understanding is that a developer could not building anything really tall there, because it would overlook the Imperial Palace. So it may be spared for a while, simply because it's not a very attractive area for development.
12-25-2018, 06:11 PM   #11
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So from the old Asahi building towards the moved Pentax museum exponats, passing the Ricoh Square and the old Pentax to arrive at the Repair Service Center building would be 22km.
https://goo.gl/maps/9yHbD4E8jvt

Last edited by angerdan; 12-25-2018 at 06:45 PM.
01-01-2019, 08:11 PM   #12
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Very cool, thanks for sharing.
01-02-2019, 07:12 PM   #13
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Without getting political which is forbidden...

I would cast my vote for this party simply because of their headquarters building!

Chris
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